"And then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."
We don't always like growth- especially when it's forced upon us. But our souls are yearning to expand and we have to honor that. We have to be brave with our life. Maybe it's time to walk away from the toxic relationship. Maybe it's time to quit the job, to break the lease, to throw out the scale. Maybe it's time to date again. Maybe it's time to get on stage, to break in the running shoes, to submit the piece. Maybe it's time to have "the talk". Maybe it's time to go all in. Maybe it's time to let it all go. The thing is, you never feel ready to up-level. Sometimes you don't even realize you're in it. Here's what to look for:
10 SIGNS YOU'RE UP-LEVELING
You feel many, often competing, emotions at once.
You feel both exhilarated and exhausted, both inspired and scared. Hopeful about the future, and sad about letting go of the past. You get this sense that something big is happening no matter how unnoticeable it may be to the outside world. Things are happening, you can feel it. You’re restless.
You feel lost in the right direction.
Nothing feels “you” anymore- nothing fits. Because while you’ve outgrown your old life, you don’t quite fill out your new one just yet. You’re both the same you you’ve always been and also completely unrecognizable. And while you might not know where you’re going or what you really, really want, you know that it’s not this, and that’s enough. Surrender to your journey. You won’t always feel so disoriented, I promise.
You feel lonely.
It’s hard for other people to get what you’re going through when YOU don’t even know what you’re going through. Growth is an extremely personal and messy process. People aren’t going to understand your journey and that’s okay. You’re going to feel lonely. That’s okay too. Look for the people who encourage you to explore and change and grow, even if they don’t understand, even if it’s not in their best interest. These people are out there. Make room for them. (Pro-tip: the internet is full of weirdos just like you. Reach out.)
You trigger people.
Your growth will make people uncomfortable because it brings them face to face with their own shit. People don’t like change and this has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. Not your problem. Stay in your lane.
You feel guilty.
When you begin to want more for yourself, you might feel ungrateful and selfish. “Who am I to be so happy? Who am I to do what I love? Who am I to have it all?” You’re used to putting others first, and by doing so you’ve taught them that you come second. This doesn’t benefit anyone. Ever. You can’t pour from an empty cup. And sometimes that means you outgrow people and places and things that once fit you perfectly, and that’s okay. You’re not giving up, you’re showing up.
Two words: Imposter Syndrome.
Here’s the thing, growth is incredibly uncomfortable because you’ve never been here before, you’ve never been this version of you. Give yourself a little grace and breathe through it. And yeah, you’re going to feel awkward because you ARE awkward. You’re new at this. Big deal. Showing up is the hardest part, especially when you live in constant fear of being found out, but you’re doing it anyway and that my friend is fucking amazing. Spoiler alert: no one else knows what they’re doing either.
You begin to make changes without even realizing it.
You start saying no to invitations you used to feel obligated saying yes to, you stand your ground with your boss, you pass on the third glass of wine, you have these spontaneous, impulsive moments where you do the things you’ve always wanted to do almost without thinking. These are glimpses of your future.
But you still self-sabotage.
Classic upper-limit problem. When you start to play bigger than you’ve ever played before, when you start to feel your power, you’re going to get freaked out. This is new territory and your self-limiting beliefs want you to go back to how things used to be; it’s “safer” there, your inner critic can control you there. Because of this, you’ll have moments where you fall back into old, often toxic, habits: people, food, alcohol, work- whatever your poison. You’ll distract yourself and get off track and then feel relieved that you don’t have to put yourself out there anymore; growth is draining and extremely vulnerable. Why put yourself through it? This feeling is temporary. And I know it feels discouraging when you feel like you’ve backtracked (again), but please know it’s part of the process. Growth is a spiral, you’re always moving up even when it doesn’t seem like it.
You know that while you might be scared about what comes next, there’s no going back.
The transformation has begun. You can’t un-feel that inner knowing that you’re meant for a bigger life. You can’t run away from what sets your soul on fire.
You are awake.
So my friend, if you are in the process of writing a new narrative, or starting a new chapter, or letting go of what no longer serves you, know that you are allowed to feel whatever it is you're feeling. You are allowed to be a hot mess. And you are not alone.