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  • Writer's pictureTai John

Growth & Maturity

Updated: Sep 6, 2023

Which one comes first, growth or maturity? It doesn’t even matter. I think what really matters is that growth and maturity coincide with one another. I wanted to touch on this because I like to reflect on my personal growth daily. Growth is a part of my life motto, live, learn and grow. Hell, growth is a part of life in general! You live life in every moment you are given, learn as you go, and grow through it and from it. Whether we realize it in the moment or later on, we are put in situations on a daily that are providing us with opportunities for growth and maturity to take root.

Recently, there have been a few instances in which I felt as if there was some elevation in my growth and maturity. For the first instance, I want you all to read the next line slowly, really take your time with it and annunciate each word, Not everyone you lose is a loss.” Boom! There it is! Now repeat it two to three more times or until it becomes engrained in your brain. I say this to say, where is the lie? Some people will cross your path and stroll with you down the yellow brick road of your life for a period of time. Not all are meant to complete the journey and stay for the long haul. Another thing to note is that everyone is in your life for a unique and specific purpose so you can’t group everyone into one category.

Some people will be in your life for the good times, anything worth celebrating, taking a shot, or doing something wild for. Some will be in your life to pick you up every time you fall (whether they pushed you or not) or when times get tough. Some will be there to boost, root, cheer and support you in everything you do or put your mind to. Some will be there to pull you out of your comfort zone and push you into new ventures and discover new pieces of yourself. Some will be there to advise, and some will be there to guide. Some may be the full package and be all or most of those things. My most favorite type of person of all is the one who is none of those things. The one who puts on a phasod of being all of those things but truly cannot live up to the weight of the title. Those are the ones where losing is not a loss.

I have had my fair share of ships (various types of relationships) throughout my 28 years around the sun and as I’ve gotten older many of those ships have sailed in different directions leaving my little blue sea more and more empty, not too many ships floating around me. Once I grew to learn and understand that not everyone, I lose is a loss, I then gained a greater appreciation for my sparse sea. I had to learn that not everyone is going to be equipped with the ability to appreciate what I bring to the relationship nor will they be able to reciprocate in any way or a way in which I would like. Rather some people will stick around for the perks of the relationship, as long as they are benefitting, they are all in. Here’s the fine line, everything is all good until I call them out on their bullshit. Everything is all good until I no longer allow myself to not be reciprocated of the effort and energy I put out. It’s funny how quickly ships change direction once the sea starts to disrupt the general flow of things.

The thing about those wandering ships that change direction and move farther away as time goes on, is they always seem to come back around at the most convenient times. Now this next line, say it even slower than you did the first line, People who ignore you until it suits them to talk to you—aren’t worth your time or friendship. Wow! Read that one five times back-to-back. Alright, so this is huge for me! I really had to sit back and reevaluate the different ships I am in and what they mean to me as well as what they mean to the other person based on their actions. Notice, I didn’t say words. While I consider myself a wordsmith and a lover of clever wordplay, I am a visual learner. I have to see someone’s words come to life through their actions, if I don’t, clearly the words said were meaningless and had no true intention behind them.

As far as the ships I am in, I can say with confidence and evidence that the ones that I have held nearest and dearest to me are the ones that fail in this area. These are the ships that I felt and treated like family and held in such high regard. But unfortunately, they just couldn’t put themselves aside to do the same for me. I would like to say these are the ships that got just as comfortable as I did without realizing just how unhealthy this type of relationship really is.

I’m sure at this point, you all are like, “Okay what does any of this have to do with growth and maturity?” I’m about to bring it full circle. So, I explained that there were some instances in my life where I saw growth and elevation within myself. The instances I told you all about were specifically in regard to different types of ships I am in and what I have learned from revaluating them, which was, “Not everyone you lose is a loss,” and “People who ignore you until it suits them to talk to you—aren’t worth your time or friendship.” Following me so far? Bet.

Recent instances for me in which I saw my growth and maturity flex:

Instance 1: A ship that I considered close to me drifted away over the past few months. Went straight MIA. I can’t say it was without warning because I believe the signs were there but the empath in me ignored the flags for the sake of giving them the benefit of the doubt. As usual, I reach out to see what’s up. The response is the same as it has been for months, short, distant, and filled with a bunch of sweet nothings and empty promises.

Instance 2: Another ship that I considered family began to become distant and sail away into their own little cove for their own sake. Understandable, but leaving me in the dark and not feeling any necessity to letting me know what’s going on until I bring it to their attention, not understandable.

o Maturity says: “Hey, it’s okay to be in your feels about a ship drifting apart, your feelings are valid and that ship that you may or may not have been prepared to lose, meant something significant to you. You know and understand that everyone is a part of your journey for a reason during a different season. Appreciate them for the blessing or lesson they were to you and wish them well as you both embark on your journeys. This does not have to be a forever farewell it can be temporary. Sometimes separation brings entities back together again, but you won’t have the opportunity to know whether or not this ship will come back full circle unless you let it go. You know how it goes, if you love it let it go and if it’s meant to be it will return to you once again (at least that’s my wording of it).”

o Growth says:Knowing what you know about this individual and yourself, rather than dismissing them with no explanation like you used to do, choose your words wisely and be open and honest with them about their actions and how they have affected you, the relationship, and how you feel. A wise woman once told you that you can’t just cut people off without explaining why, some people really lack the consciousness or ability to realize that they may have been stepping on your toes unless they are directly told so. So, use the voice that you were given and speak up for yourself. Take a step back from this ship and allow yourself to view the situation from various perspectives and considerations. When you have done this, you can have a better overall understanding and full scope of the situation at hand then move forward with the utmost rationality.”

The truth of the matter is I had to come to terms with the fact that everyone carries the varying weights of the world in their own way. We don’t all have the same strength or capabilities and that’s okay. I can respect that. But I don’t have to accept it as an excuse to put me to the side or go MIA. I can respectfully give someone space and time they need for themselves because I understand that we all go through things in our ways and during different times along our journeys, but we have to learn to communicate those things in some way. Because ignoring people or disappearing is not the way to keep ships afloat rather it’s a means to create distance. Space can be achieved easily through communication. Openly expressing your concerns wants, and needs in your varying ships paves way for the other person involved to follow suit and do the same. Radical honesty is the key to keep all ships afloat.

I’m proud of my responses in both of these situations. Proud, because old Tai would have either completely ignored the individual who distanced themselves with no explanation or gone off on them and left things in a toxic manner. I would have been hot, bothered, and fired up for no good reason at all. But because of the levels of maturity and growth instilled within me, I was able to respectfully speak my truth in both ships and peacefully excuse myself and take back some of the energy that I have been giving. Protecting your energy and peace is so important. You can’t be your best self and help others or be good to others if you have been drained of all your energy by takers or been giving more to others and neglecting yourself and your needs as a result.

My words of wisdom to you, sit back and reevaluate all the ships that you are in. Ask yourselves these questions: What do they look like? How are you being treated? How do you treat the other individual in the ship? What are you giving? What are you receiving? Is it healthy? Is it something you continue to be a part of or is it time to remove yourself? The ships that you are a part of ultimately create your community so ensure that you are enlisting the right individuals to be around you. Choose the energy, love, light, support, empathy, understanding, wisdom, and all the things that you want to receive in your ships, choose wisely and ensure that the things that you wish and want for are the things that you are putting out as well.

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