My New Thought teachers have been encouraging me to expand since I began in the movement 14 years ago: expand my vision, beliefs, consciousness, goals, dreams, and so forth. They’ve provided various techniques along the way, such as visioning and meditating, creating vision boards, and journaling. I continue to engage in these practices, but I’ve noticed that not everyone is on board with me. Have you ever found that?
A common place we can find resistance to our intention to broaden our horizons is in our employment. Sometimes company policy or practice dictates that we fill a narrow role only. In those cases, branching out infringes on another department’s territory, and we are advised to stick to our own terrain. Other times it may be an individual who feels threatened by our effort to step out of our workplace box. We’re more likely to be able to work through this barrier than the former, depending on the other person’s willingness to collaborate and shift their perspective. Another common scenario is that the organization’s scope, market, or structure just doesn’t afford us the room to expand. No one means to keep us down; expansion just isn’t feasible in that environment.
There are times when people close to us don’t quite grasp our vision. We may be holding a goal for ourselves that they never considered and don’t see as possible. I remember years ago a friend of mine who thought about becoming a Mary Kay consultant. Her husband immediately shot her down, stating that she could never do that. I’m sure he meant well, but he obviously didn’t know Eleanor Roosevelt’s story. It was she herself who thought she couldn’t do the speaking and have the public presence required of her once Franklin contracted polio. She persevered, however, and overcame her limited thinking. In her obituary dated November 8, 1962, the New York Times referred to her as the “world’s most admired woman.”
Friends and family may not encourage our growth because they sense it will impact them negatively. I saw this frequently when I was a leader for Weight Watchers. Husbands feared their wives would become more attractive to other men, and they would no longer measure up. Spouses and friends were afraid of losing their dining companion to a healthy lifestyle or that they would be pressured to change their own habits. Of course, the growth we desire may be beyond diet and physical appearance. As a college instructor, it’s not uncommon to hear stories of parents, spouses, and children who are not supportive of my students’ efforts to earn a degree.
Sadly, society has many ways of keeping us down, oftentimes intentionally. Advertisers like to suggest that we are needy in some way and cannot transcend this situation without their product or service. Do we really need fiber supplements or can a simple dietary change enable us to achieve greater health? Is that elaborate piece of exercise equipment really essential to achieving a higher level of fitness?
Clubs, professional organizations, and social groups all have their cultures and norms, and life works better for these groups when all the members conform. Is doing things the way we’ve always done them truly best for the organization and its members, or is there a fear that the power base may change if new ideas are introduced? I’ve even seen churches that refuse to promote the events or opportunities of other religious organizations for fear that members may be lured away.
It’s no wonder that my teachers advise developing a daily practice to reinforce an expanding consciousness. I’ve also found it beneficial to associate with like-minded individuals who nurture my growth and help me see beyond my perceived but imaginary limitations. Despite the obstacles, let’s stay on course and see what happens.