Homelessness, gun violence, spousal and child abuse – have we really become numb to these situations? It can happen, when they become everyday, commonplace occurrences. Instead of being outside of the norm, they are so pervasive that they no longer “stick out” but fade into the background noise of our existence.
Why would a person keep living on the streets, when other solutions are available? Why would an abused spouse or child stay in the abusive relationship? With a young child, there may be no choice they can make. But for adults, it’s the peculiar choice of picking “the devil you know.” It confirms why we can get used to practically anything, once it becomes familiar – and it doesn’t matter if it’s good for us or not. The challenge to our growth is in continuing to be comfortable with the status quo.
In much the same way, we often hold on to our angers and sorrows, our bitterness and, perhaps, mediocrity because they are all we know. They offer us familiarity in an uncertain world and a self-image we can hold on to and feel comfortable with – even if it doesn’t necessarily make us happy.
But the miracle of life is that as soon as we realize that we can choose self-worth, approval and appreciation over pain and fear, a powerful force begins to work on us and within us. We can move the needle toward inner strength and worth. Over time, we can learn to acknowledge and nurture the essential goodness and strength that lies within each one of us. And we can learn to use our tremendous inner potential for both our own and the common good.
People use their inner potential every day. Challenges big and small are met and overcome, time and time again. The status quo can change whenever we want it to change, and that can become a growth habit we build. And the good news? Using more of our potential can be a habit, too.