Depending on our individual circumstances, our spiritual nature may not have been nurtured (by us or our environment) for many years or decades. These survival strategies kept us alive but we may have traded positive virtues in the process. An analogy could be one of putting on a heavy robe or coat for each survival strategy we adopted. Now, as conscious adults looking to regrow our spiritual nature, we have to remove these heavy energetic layers of ego-created survival strategies. In many cases, our identities are tied in with these unproductive layers of identity.
When we begin to strip away unproductive layers, aspects of our identity will need to be let go as well. Friends, family, and coworkers may be used to us being one way, but as we change, they may not always understand or want us to change. The pace of change for each individual is different, but I recommend going slowly, methodically, and in a grounded way. Take it easy on yourself and be easy on those around you. It may have taken you years to adopt your unproductive habits, therefore give yourself some time to let go of these layers. We may also have a whole host of coping mechanisms to deal with our conscious or unconscious problems. Often, these coping mechanisms may cause more problems than the original problems. It can be a good question to ask “does this activity, way of being, thought pattern, or relationship help or hinder my spiritual development?”
The Alchemist’s Tao Te Ching: Transforming Your Lead Into Gold https://www.amazon.com/dp/1718636970/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_9zzuCbXB6PDV5