The Loss in “Leveling Up”

To grow beyond where you are, you must let go of anything incompatible with your growth.

If you’ve ever taken care of a plant long term, you know they drop a lot of leaves throughout a year of growth. It’s amazing actually. And we are no different.

Photo by Adrien King on Unsplash

You can drop a lot of habits, beliefs, relationships, and familiar cycles while you are growing into the person you want to be. This is entirely normal and, as nature teaches us, it is this very shift that creates the space for new growth.

If you are a plant growing upwards towards the light and all your older leaves on the bottom are now covered in darkness, these leaves can no longer help you to grow. They do not absorb light and cannot contribute to the growth of the plant (you). Instead, keeping those bottom leaves will actually prevent the plant from being able to grow further by siphoning valuable energy. So the plant will eventually drop those old leaves and redistribute its energy to the leaves that help it to grow or to new leaves.

Those old leaves, now in the shadows of new growth, that you may need to drop can sometimes be nearly imperceptible patterns or self-maintained limits. Perhaps one leaf is a naive optimism that things will magically and drastically improve without any change on your part. This be-leaf (😂) served you in youth but now prevents you from picking up your responsibilities and creating those needed improvements (instead of waiting for them).

Perhaps it is a habit of gossiping about your new romantic interest with friends. This used to be in good fun but now you want to have something serious and a sacred union/healthy partnership cannot prosper with these accumulated “minor” trespasses.

Perhaps it is the nearly translucent surrender to the belief that things will never actually get better. This belief keeps change from ever manifesting fully. It also keeps the necessity of decisions and commitments at bay and prevents the cross of responsibility from casting a shadow across your shoulders.

Or perhaps those bottom leaves are a little more outwardly pronounced and add another weight making them heavier to drop. Like a friend circle based in a lifestyle that you are stepping away from. Or a job that is financially comfortable but soul sucking.

Despite dropping these leaves for the highest good, it does not negate that there may be recurring bouts of pain, mourning, and doubts as you do so. That is also a natural and likely necessary part of this process of spiritual growth, also known as individuation or self-realization.

A plant once defines itself by its first set of leaves. After some time, those old leaves can keep it in a “seedling” or infantile state.

To “level up” inherently implies a loss of what confined you to the previous level. Do not allow these moments of mourning for your loss of some darkness or the loss of familiarity pull you away from continuing to grow towards the light. There is nothing positive to be had by lamenting about the shadows we had to cast away in order to operate more in entirety in the light. The land of loss we must pass through to “level up” is inevitable but it is no place to make a home in.

Keep growing towards the light.

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