I came across a quote today I’d like to share:
“We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.” — Anais Nin
When I first read this I particularly liked the phrase, “We are mature in one realm, childish in another.” I grew up on The Muppet Show and at times my sense of humor can be really corny and silly … one of the tools I learned in recovery is that Being Child-Like Is Not The Same As Being Childish. In my teens I’d been shamed by my stepfather for my silliness and it took more than a decade to realize I need not feel any shame for joy in my childhood. I had to learn to give myself permission to start releasing it again, and now that I have this same sense of awe and joy I had in my childhood has served me well as an adult.
The same phrase also reminded me of a man I met this past week at a meeting. We talked after the meeting about early childhood development and how even through our teens and young adult phases we have certain needs … if our growth is halted in any of these phases it can stick with us for decades until we address that phase of development. All the time I hear about how men these days are nothing but grown up boys, and part of me has feared that having a Child-Like side could be interpreted that way. It was nice to be reminded that while some dimensions of my personality are well developed it’s okay that others are Child-Like. I don’t have to be perfect. I don’t have to be adult 100% of the time, in every way, and in fact trying to be probably isn’t natural. I’m happy the way I am. Layers, cells, constellations, and all.