When You Grow Based on Love, You Can Only Expand

If you love someone and they inspire you to grow — to try new food, to travel, to be kinder, more patient, or go to the gym on the regular — that growth can only be additive. It won’t take anything away from you or who you are. You and your life will simply expand to accommodate your new hobby, habit, or attitude.

This is true even when the growth consists of letting go. Dropping a bad habit together with (or because of) someone you love does not feel like you’re losing anything. Neither does spending less time at work to have more quality conversations with your partner. If you’ve ever gone through a transition like this, you’ll know: Despite having or doing less, it still feels like your life expands. As if you yourself are “growing bigger.”

When you try to change something out of fear, however, every step will feel like a giant sacrifice. That’s because fear-based growth is not growth at all. You’re not creating space or expanding your consciousness. You’re shrinking. You want to protect something you already have. Your ego, usually. It might disguise as the reputation you have among coworkers or friends, maybe even hide in a set of material possessions, but ultimately, it is when we cling to the self we have that we fail to become the self that is waiting for us.

While it is nice to grow out of love for someone in your life, it is not necessary to have anyone in your life to evolve based on love. You may just as well love yourself, and when you do, any change is not only a change you can manage, but a change from which you will expand.