In yoga a couple of weeks ago, my teacher asked us to have a couple of blocks accessible. I grabbed the ones I like most – sturdy, big, and comfortable.
In the middle of class, she instructed us to put our block in front of us and step up onto it with one foot. I noticed that she moved a block in front of me so it was already there. As I took the step, I realized that she had switched my block. “I gave you the more difficult one,” she said with a smile. I was tempted to switch the block, and in fact, I think I started to, but I had trust – in my teacher, and in myself.
The balance was more difficult, and it required more focus, more strength. I was stretched to literally step up out of my comfort zone, and it paid off for me, because the challenge brought me more confidence in myself and my body.
This highlights the difference between support and stretch that I touched on last week.
If you surround yourself with people who support you you’re going to get a lot of this:
“You’re doing a great job!”
“I am so proud of you!”
“That’s a great idea!”
While it’s awesome to hear things like that, that’s not the type of feedback that really encourages growth in the most meaningful ways.
It’s also what we tend to do and say when our friends and family ask us for feedback and advice because we love them and we often don’t want to risk hurting their feelings, even if it means telling them the truth, because that can be hard, right?
For many of us, asking for help is difficult. It’s not always easy to admit that we need support, and even harder to go to the ones we love and trust and ask for it. That’s why they are great for support, but not always the best to go to when you need to be stretched (and really, you need to be stretched in any moment of your life where you are looking to make change – big or small).
Why is stretch important and what does it look like?
Stretch is important because it give you the opportunity to do things that you wouldn’t ordinarily do or think you could do on your own but that you are fully capable of doing.
Would I have thought to pick up a block that I didn’t consider comfortable at the beginning of my yoga class? No. Was it the better choice because it helped me get more out of that pose? Absolutely! I needed to be stretched in order to take my practice to the next level.
Stretch is important because it keeps you from getting stuck in your same patterns and ruts.
When you’re working towards a goal, do you notice that self-sabotage happens at the same part of the process over and over again? Stop reading, close your eyes, and think about that for a minute. Yeah, there you go. We run our patterns on repeat and we often can’t see them clearly ourselves (at least not while we’re experiencing them). It takes time to notice them, and it often takes someone else noticing these patterns for you and stretching you to interrupt the pattern and try something more productive.
Stretch is important because it opens you up to the possibility of who you can be.
Have you done anything in your life that at some point you wouldn’t have been able to imagine doing? Of course you have! Those things have occurred during moments of stretch. When the person holding onto your bike stopped supporting you and let go, you discovered that you could ride on your own.
Here’s what it comes down to – If you want to make significant and lasting change and growth happen in your life, you shouldn’t surround yourself with people who support you because you need space for those who stretch you as well.
Does that resonate with you? I hope so.
Peace, Love, and Wellness,
P.S. Are you looking for some stretch in your life? Leave a comment below and let me know where you know you need some stretch, or better yet, click here and schedule some time to talk to me about it! No cost, and no strings attached, but know that you will feel stretched when our 30 minutes together end.
This is such a great post. We all need to be stretched from time to time – physically and mentally/emotionally. 🙂
I fully believe life throws you obstacles and challenges so that you are forced to “stretch” who you are and what you are capable of. I love the idea of initiating the “stretching” on your own to make you more adaptable and flexible!
This is so very true, and nicely put into words 🙂
Oh wait a minute…is that too supportive? lol ;0)