My 7 year old lost another tooth today, and as usual, she’ll be getting a visit from the tooth fairy tonight who will bring her another $2 bill to add to her collection. Today, we were explaining to her how birds and lobsters molt. We explained to her that snakes molt too. Excitedly she replied “humans molt too! With our teeth!” So it dawned on me, maybe I should be waiting for the personal growth fairy too.
I hadn’t thought of how similar losing a tooth is to personal growth. Think about it: As a child, when you lose a tooth, you go through the process of having a loose tooth first. It will be painful if you try to force it. Then it falls. You bleed a little. You might feel embarrassed. It leaves a hole that needs to be filled again with new growth (tooth). When we go through personal growth, we first go through a period where we realize that we need to let go of something. We might feel pain if we force it. Then we let go of it. We might feel embarrassed by what we’ve let go. And then there’s a hole that we need to fill with new growth. So, maybe the personal growth fairy can bring me something? But instead of getting me a $2 bill, a Tesla might be nice. Or considering the badass skills I’ve developed through the years, I could get an Aston Martin? 😉
Wouldn’t it be great if that were the case? And then I realized that all jokes aside, hoping for something GREAT like that to happen when we’re going through the process of growth is entitlement. And letting go of entitlement is an important part of growing too. I’m not saying that Teslas or Aston Martin’s are bad. What I AM saying is that in order to reach goals, we have to go through a process of growing. Nothing in life is ever given to us with no effort. And pretending that we don’t have to work for our goals is a mistake.
One of the most valuable lessons that life has given me, is realizing the amount of growth that it takes to accomplish certain goals. When I haven’t reached a goal, many times, it’s because I haven’t grown into the person that would reach those goals. That’s a painful thing to face sometimes. And at the same time, I’ve had to realize that many times, I just haven’t been willing to let go of what’s keeping me from growing. Maybe life is the growth fairy? Maybe the gift is growth itself and becoming a better version of ourselves? And maybe, just maybe, our only goal in life should be to be happy. So instead of waiting for the personal growth fairy, I will be open to the gift that growth brings me.