When I think of phases, my mind goes to the idea that things are temporary. Seasons changing over, the phases of the moon, decades of changes in fashion or what’s on trend, times in your life that feel intense for a bit and then smooth out over time.
Humans want order.
A lot of the time I find that people love labels and absolutes. We crave organization in some way when things feel chaotic. Things like labeling a child’s behavior as the ‘terrible twos’ or saying that wanting your pantry in order is OCD. Googling symptoms of a head cold and deciding we have a disease we’ve never heard of. If we have a label, a reason, a person, an overarching THING to blame, we put ourselves out of the running (at times willingly) to take on the responsibility. What happens here is we tend to wipe our hands of it and lose the desire to stay curious. And that, friends, is where I want you to make the change. Desiring the safety net of a label or definition to ease your mind in the moment, perfectly fine. However, what I want you to do is consider that long term change doesn’t come from the act of knowing a label. It comes from the curiosity and work to understand yourself and others and why things happen the way they do. The tantrum may have something to do with a child’s age and stage of development, but staying curious will keep you in the mindset of ‘what do they need from me?’ or ‘what are they communicating to me?’ or even ‘what do I need for myself to ensure my tolerance for tantrums is solid?’ There are more questions there than I’ve listed, but you get the idea. Deeper reflection will take you further and help you grow.
Why do we want to fit in?
Personally, I have a huge interest in pop culture, social media, and fashion. Writing about phases today made me think about our ever-evolving digital world and cultural trends. Why do you think we crave being seen? Valued? Why do we love inspiring and **insert the buzzword of the year** influencing others and the act of being influenced? Scrolling Instagram to see what overpriced sunglasses our idols are wearing so we can spend money to fit the mold? Why do we all suddenly looooove avocado toast and oat milk? It is a feeling of safety to know you are within a group of people who like the same thing or look the same way. Therefore trends or phases happen. Bottom line, humans crave connection and a sense of direction. Think about standing at a concert of your favorite artist and singing the words alongside thousands of people. Why is that such a euphoric experience? We NEED the feeling that genuine connection, inclusiveness, love, and bonds provide for us.
This, by no means, requires that humans need to be the same or have the same interests and beliefs as the next person to function or be happy. It just means that our behavior and decisions to hang with a crowd versus hang alone provide us with an underlying feeling of security. If we, in turn, learn to feel secure in other ways with ourselves or our own path, we tend to require less of that outside input to feel part of the crowd and secure in our place in the world.
Things ARE temporary.
There will always be phases, trends, things that appeal to the masses or things that fade and come back. Learning to ride the wave and, as I mentioned, staying curious, intentional, and reflective, is key. On a societal level and a personal one, I want you to think about the temporary nature of things. You may have days that feel off, but the next one can be brighter than you ever imagined. Out of any phase or temporary state, that’s a beautiful one.