7 Reasons Why Personal Growth May Seem Painful at First

Discomfort comes with the emergence of the butterfly.

You’ve done the work!

You have looked deeper into your heart, discovering a bright new level of awareness of your own beautiful nature.

Your butterfly wings are drying out from being folded up inside a dark, moist chrysalis. Soon you’ll fly free.

But something may feel painful and scary, rather than exhilarating?

7 Reasons Why Personal Growth May Feel Painful at First:

1.    Shame. A vital part of personal growth is facing our own darkness, which may cause feelings of shame and humiliation. The dark forces may include: self-loathing, jealousy, fear, resentment, the need to control and unbridled anger. Everyone has a dark side, but eventually peace comes when we stop projecting those shadowy forces out onto the world.

2.    The Personal Story Changes. Coming to a greater level of consciousness certainly alters the story one’s been telling over and over to anyone who will listen, especially if the story includes a theme of victimization! My parents didn’t do this or that for me. I grew up poor, or I was viciously attacked, abused or completely ignored. Ultimately, it’s freeing to give up one’s boring old story!

3.    Giving In. The one who’s enlarged his perspective of all things may be the designated person to soften in any unhappy relationship. This is painful, because when the one who’s expended enormous energy  to dig in the heels in a stand of self righteousness is suddenly is called by their new awareness of Self to back down, it’s a painful blow to the infantile ego.

4.    Feelings of No Longer Fitting In. One who has reached a higher level of self-actualization may appear as a new and threatening mystery to friends, family and colleagues. It’s unsettling to have folks see us as the “newly enlightened one” with whom they no longer share old familiar patterns of communication. It’s painful to suddenly feel like the outsider simply because one has successfully expanded their consciousness.

5.    Letting Go of Certain People. Pain is inherent in the realization that maintaining certain old friendships no longer serves! Such a sadness in letting go of folks with whom we’ve  shared a long history.

6..    A Major Lifestyle Change May Be Required. It’s always frightening when one’s expanded awareness presents the idea that a major lifestyle change is in order.  This could include: job change, relocation, leaving a romantic relationship or a total change in one’s approach to personal health and wellness.

7.    Taking a Risk May Be Called For. When one awakens to a higher consciousness, the new life doesn’t immediately equate with ease and comfort. New risks must be taken involving change and aligning with one’s passion and purpose. Any new risk taken to follow one’s dream may provoke fear and trepidation. That’s how you know you’re taking a risk!

There’s definitely grief and pain in saying farewell to the old self while beginning to flourish in the New Self. It’s part of this exciting process of Awakening.



  1. Completely agree. It seems like the hardest part is ending, but really its a tie between the work to realize your personal truth and the work to put that new awareness in place in your life.

    • That’s right, Jillian! There’s nothing easy about the spiritual quest, adapting to one’s new life, and from that new vantage point, taking a compassionate stand with family and friends who may feel threatened by our expanded awareness.

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