Existential Psychology

Waiting Patiently For Human Growth

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When you plant a seed, you don’t just water it one or two times and then give up, thinking “Obviously it’s never going to sprout.” You know that the process takes time, that even if conditions are optimal it will be months before you see the fruits of your labor. And though you can’t see anything on the surface, you know important changes are taking place in the ground below.

I believe that most human growth is the same. When you are trying to make a change in your life, what you are really doing is planting a seed. You might make the error of believing that the seed should be a fully formed plant overnight though, and then start to get down on yourself for your failure or even stop trying since you apparently aren’t going to get any results anyway.

But the spectacular blooms we see all around us are the culmination of a long, drawn out process that started with just a single seed in the soil. You don’t necessarily think of all those previous steps when you see flowers blooming, you just appreciate their beauty. When we are around people who have actively focused on their development, who are accomplished and self-actualized, we can make the same mistake. We see them as having sprung forth fully formed, like Athena popping out of Zeus’s head, and don’t think about all the stages of growth that were necessary for them to get there.

If you think in these terms you will cut yourself a break during the early stages when it doesn’t seem like you are getting any results. You’ve got to just trust in the process and keep watering those seeds, believing that change is happening whether you can see it or not. Change doesn’t happen all at once, it unfolds like the deepening of a yoga pose made possible by increasing flexibility. Even if you don’t see any physical manifestation of your growth yet you probably will soon if you keep at it.

We live in a fast paced world and we want things now. But the most important parts of our lives take time and patience, and have to go through many stages of development to reach completion. The only thing you can control about your growth is coming to the present moment, mindfully giving everything you have to the stage you are at instead of worrying about where you should be or giving up because you think nothing is happening. If you just keep watering those seeds you will see your plant sprout soon.