You wouldn’t ask a plant to grow without giving it the appropriate conditions to grow. So why do you sometimes expect yourself to change, without giving yourself the appropriate conditions to change?
Just as a plant needs food, water, soil, and perhaps the right climbing apparatus, so do you.
Don’t expect yourself to be able to develop without something to add richness to your life. I don’t mean material wealth. I mean some rich sources of what you need to nourish you. This is what puritanical and spartan cultures sometimes get a bit wrong. Although deprivation can indeed be a great source of growth, we have to remember that we are biological and intellectual beings who thrive on a healthy diet of love, companionship, knowledge and culture.
Water is a basic need for the body. You could argue that the body has grown out of water, and that water is, in many ways, its home. To extend the metaphor, you will know what mental environments act, for you, as your water. Perhaps it is chats with friends and colleagues; perhaps it is meditation… whatever it is, don’t deprive yourself of it in the name of keeping busy.
SOIL TO GROW IN
It is not a sin to want to live with a protective environment around you. It is only then that you can grow roots of sufficient depth to sustain you when things get tough. Your protection does not have to be a house or a family. It may be enough for you to have some companionship, a roof over your head at night, and some basic tools. But whatever your growth environment is, make sure you have the essentials you need.
Just as some plants need the right structures around them to grow, so different people thrive on different growth structures. Some children benefit hugely from a school structure, and some find it constricting. Some adults find a traditional family environment helpful, and some find it stifling. Get to know what works for you in terms of growth, and try to argue for it, and find it.
Examples of spiritual ‘climbing frames’ might be apprioriate teachers, courses, books, retreats etc. Also perhaps counselling and psychotherapy at appropriate times (but I would say that, wouldn’t I?!)
What conditions do you require for growth?
Perhaps take some time to write a shopping list, personal to you, of things which will help you grow yourself in the right conditions.
Make sure your shopping list is adapted to your particular nature, and isn’t just what you think you should want. We’re all different.
Like plants, we need the appropriate conditions to grow. In particular, each person needs:
Spiritual food to nourish you
Mental water to keep you fresh
Solid soil to grow roots in
Climbing frames to support your growth