Why personal growth is sometimes (very) frustrating

The first steps of a personal journey are often the euphoria of the discovery of a new world, the hope of a better version of oneself.

But this can also quickly give way to the beginning of frustration…

We start by becoming aware of a difficulty, a problem, a behavior, a thought, a belief, which does not correspond to what we would like to be:

Why do I react/think like this?

And then we work on it, we start by reading an article or two, maybe a book, a video, we do exercises, we practice or even take a session with someone to make progress on the subject.

Things are getting better, some things have let go, you feel it, it’s moving in the right direction.

And sometimes life catches up with us, with a similar but different situation, which will re-trigger or highlight what we thought we had worked on.

That’s when the frustration can show up: “But damn, I thought I had that thing worked out!” 🙂

Then, with time, we get used to it, we accept it and we continue to move forward, to work on it, to release it, to understand it better.

And sometimes, it is the click, the great relief!

We will say to ourselves that the therapist is great, that the technique is fantastic, that the book changed our life! 🙂

But this is often to forget all the path that also allowed us to arrive at this precise moment of the click, of the swing.

Let’s take an image.

Imagine that you want to turn over a double mattress, quite thick and still a bit soft.

You start by lifting it on one side.

But your grip is uncertain, your hands slip, the mattress starts to bend a little …

You try to put a knee underneath to change your grip …

The moment you let go of your hand to change position, the mattress starts sliding towards the closet!


You aspire to keep that inner peace but at that very moment, you wonder where it went! 🙂

Okay, the mattress is now wedged against the corner of the closet, it’s blocked!

You replace yourself like a weightlifter who is about to lift his bar.

Your hands are fixed, the knee in position, you catch your breath…

And hop!

You puff up your cheeks, and off you go!

You pull the mattress and with the help of your knee to hold it for 2 seconds, you finally manage to slide your hands and forearms underneath!

One more effort and the mattress is vertical!


You take a deep breath.

You move the mattress away from the corner of the cupboard and you push it with a flick of your wrist so that it finally tips over to the other side!

Mission accomplished!

Personal growth is a bit like flipping that mattress sometimes… often.

We will make a lot of efforts, put energy, intention, do exercises and the results are sometimes long to come.

But every little effort contributes to bringing the mattress upright.

And it will only take one last effort to tip it over: it will be this book, this session, this video, this meditation that will be the tipping point.

So be proud of how far you’ve come, of the efforts you’ve made, because even if you don’t see the effects right now, you’re lifting this mattress!

It’s important to keep going, at your own pace, depending on what resonates with you at each step.

(first published in French here : Pourquoi le dev perso, c’est parfois (très) frustrant)

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