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Along our healing journeys, we have to be really clear and intentional with the environments we are spending time in. In order for any of us to grow, the environments we’re in have to support and serve us. All life thrives in different environments; from plants and vegetation, to animals and humans, we each require something unique and different to reach our fullest expansion. The desert environment might seem completely inhabitable to the animals from the dense, wet rainforests, yet for many creatures from mammals, to reptiles and insects, it is where they thrive. There is nothing wrong with life that thrives in the desert versus the rainforest, they simply have different needs and when those needs are met life, creation, and full expansion are inevitable.

We can take cues from nature and our surrounding environments and relate them back to how we experience certain aspects of our lives. Often, along this growth and healing journey, we can get caught up in comparing what we are doing and what practices we’re accessing to the practices of those around us. We might even find ourselves stuck in environments that are not serving us anymore simply because they are comfortable and familiar. The part that can be tricky, but can also be the most fun, is that these environments can and will change. As we grow forward, learn more about ourselves, create boundaries, and discover ways to honor our needs, the environments that support us will likely change.

We all grow when we are surrounded by people, opportunities, jobs, projects, and experiences that uplift us and support us reaching our highest potential. Through the ebbs and flows of this life, it can be confusing to try to continually identify who, where, what, and how we need to be supported best. Some signs that you might be outgrowing your environment can be:

Feelings that something is missing or the desire to reach for “more.” If you find yourself yearning for different experiences or even stepping outside of your comfort zone, that might be a sign that it’s time to do it! Try creating a vision board or list of steps to help create the container for you to follow this calling.

Noticing your interests changing. As you grow and change, your interests will likely follow suit. Outgrowing certain interests doesn’t necessarily mean you need to push them aside or write them off completely. You might merge new hobbies and interests with old ones, or create space for multiple interests to exist at once. Practice checking in with yourself, tune into your inner connection and follow what feels good, without judgment or expectations. Follow the flow of your joy and see how your world shifts.

Operating on auto-pilot or just going through the motions. If you notice that things just feel “lackluster” and you’re moving through your day to day life without excitement or inspiration, that might mean it’s time to seek some new experiences. Trying something new, that you’ve never done before, or literally changing your environment, either by taking a trip or getting out of the house for an activity, can help to invite some more excitement into your world.

In environments that are not conducive for forward or upward movement, can halt growth in its tracks. When you notice signs of stagnation it doesn’t always mean that you have to completely do away with your friends, your job, or all aspects of your environment, it’s simply an invitation to notice. Become aware of what feels stuck and see what small steps you can create to invite growth and newness back into your world. 

Each of us will have a different idea of what a growth environment looks and feels like. There may be some similarities that can help you in discovering your environments for growth. But remember these are adaptable to suit your needs. Some elements of a supportive, growth environment might be:

Surrounding yourself with people who inspire you. When you are surrounded by people who embody wisdom and knowledge that you admire, you may be inspired to continue your own learning.

Where feedback is encouraged and uplifting. An environment where you can ask questions, receive supportive feedback, mess up, and be held in your evolution can create the fertile ground for your growth. If you are never challenged, you may stay in your comfort zone, fearing what happens when you step outside. Similarly, if you are always receiving feedback that puts you down, that can add to your fear and keep you stuck.

Rooted in excitement and affirmation. Find environments that fuel your joy and allow you to tap into your passions. Everyone is not meant to do everything, we all have unique skills and talents that contribute to a whole. Seek spaces where people celebrate your unique gifts, your talents, and your greatness, and where you can do the same for those around you.

These are just a few examples of qualities a growth environment can have. You get to decide where you take root and grow to your fullest potential. The environment you experience your best growth in might have some, none, or all of these qualities; it is truly up to you and your own experience.

The invitation is to keep checking in with yourself and ask yourself what you need at each moment and in each new evolution of you. It’s okay to change, to shape shift, and to leave environments that can no longer support your highest growth. Give yourself permission to be seen in your fullest expansion by curating your environments with care and intention in mind.