Tools for Growth

Everything I come into contact with has the potential to help me grow: Objects, people, places, situations, projects, conversations, experiences. These are tools for growth.

As an ever-evolving being, it makes sense for the tools I use to evolve along with me. This evolution requires me to check in with the tools I interact with, and determine if they will assist me in the present moment and ultimately serve my highest good and joy.

Several years ago, I used running as a tool to take care of my body. Working on the couch was a tool to achieve a balance of comfort and productivity. Typing games helped me build focus, certain friends helped me heal, and breath meditation helped me create stillness. I used these tools often (some of them daily), and eventually, I outgrew them. I learned the lessons these tools were meant to teach me, and our cycle together was complete.

I used to spend years using the same tools in the same ways because it was comfortable. I built routines around them, and sometimes it would take a dramatic exit or years of gradual drifting apart to finally let them go. Now, I recognize that I have the power to choose what tools I use at any given moment. If I discover something or someone is no longer aiding my development, I give myself permission to set it aside.

When I am faced with a decision to engage with a tool for growth, I ask: Will this drain me or assist me? If it will drain me, is there something I am resisting learning? Is it time to let it go? If I feel it will assist me, am I turning to it for the right reasons? Does it support a small part of me, or does it help the wholeness of me expand?

It’s okay if I no longer visit a particular place, speak to a certain person, or use a thing that used to be “my favorite.” It was perfect for the process and the person I was at that moment in time. Perhaps one of these tools will come back again. Perhaps it won’t. Regardless, there is no need to cling to guilt over setting any tool aside, because guilt doesn’t serve me either.

If I feel the tool will help me expand, I look deeper to determine where that feeling comes from. If it comes from a sense of limitless potential—a pure and unmistakeable feeling of “YES!”—I know it is the perfect tool for me right now. If it comes from habit, comfort, or nostalgia, desperation, or obligation, I know there is a thread of the past that draws me to it. Letting go of these tools from the past can feel scary at times, but it is necessary if I want to continue growing. The more I practice this, the easier it becomes.

May every tool in your toolbox serve your highest purpose, and may you have the courage to let go of the ones that do not.

Aubrey Klein