4 Traits of Personal Growth We Take For Granted
Real growth does not happen overnight. Sometimes we can get so hung up on the process and not be where we want to be that we fail to see the deeper roots being cultivated underneath that play a massive part in setting the foundations for real change development to transpire.
Here are the four traits are hidden beneath the surface that we often forget and take for granted but go a long way in our growth journey.
1. A Shift in Validation
“You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.”
― John Lydgate
One of the biggest things I’ve noticed in my self-development journey is that the older I get, the less I care about the opinions of others and their expectations of me.
It’s not that I don’t care at all; it’s more that I’ve grown to value my own opinion more than the opinion of others.
As a retired people pleaser, I now realize the damage I was doing to myself after years of suppressing my voice in favor of people who didn’t care about me.
It’s not until much later I began realizing that every time I did something that steered away from what was important to me, I was subconsciously telling myself, ‘Your needs don’t matter,’ which took me some time to rewire because over the accumulation of years I had to develop this behavior.
Trying to please everyone for them to like you is just fighting a symptom. The real problem lies in the estimation we have of ourselves.
When we can get to a place where we value our wants, needs, and opinions over others, then we are better placed to prioritize and develop things that matter to us.
When we become so focused on other needs, it’s so easy to forget about ourselves, as we end up helping other people fulfill their vision for their lives while we stay in a dormant state.
After years of doing so, it got to the point that I didn’t even know what I truly wanted because I gave that privilege away at the expense of other’s approval.
Although I may only be a few years removed from being a people-pleaser, learning to provide my own validation has helped me prioritize quality relationships better and filter out those that expend more energy than they’re worth.
2. Harder to Relate
One of the main consequences of growing ourselves is that we can end up outgrowing our social circles because we’ve become adept at living values that bring out the best in us while they are stuck in their ways.
This need not necessarily be considered a bad thing. On the plus side, it makes us evaluate the company we want to keep, which will either help nurture this identity we’re trying to create or halt its progress.
Crabs in bucket syndrome come to mind when it comes to maintaining social circles that do not serve us, theorizing that whenever a person tries to break away from the majority’s norm, they are swiftly pulled back to the true reality of that circle.
When we align our lives with a purpose that brings out the best in us, it can act as an uncomfortable mirror to the rest of our social circles of the truth that is holding them back from realizing their life purpose.
There’s comfort in conformity because it’s familiar, it’s habitual, it’s safe, it’s what we do. To break away from that in pursuit of more means defying the rules of that reality.
To achieve the fruits of personal growth and live the life we’ve never lived, we must do the things we’ve never done, stepping into newer and unknown territories again and again.
If we want something bad enough, sometimes it takes changing our social circles to attain it, but rest assured, there’ll be resistance along the way.
Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.
Resistance is experienced as fear; the degree of fear equates to the strength of resistance. Therefore, the more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul. That’s why we feel so much resistance. If it meant nothing to us, there’d be no Resistance.
-Steven Pressfield, The War of Art
If we find ourselves harder to relate with, we’re on a different trajectory and aim for a better life. It may be uncomfortable short term, but the greater the resistance we face, the greater confirmation that our calling needs to be pursued.
3. Comfortable With Criticism/Haters
Mediocrity is the only thing that is sure of itself. When it comes to personal growth, we are constantly confronted with the unknown day after day. As previously mentioned, we need to go into new territories to grow.
If I become comfortable, then I know I’ve plateaued. Comfort kills progress and innovation; it quashes motivation to change and halts any chances of transformative gain to enter our lives.
Criticism is a powerful resource that affirms that we’ve made a stand for something, that we’re doing something that defies the norm. It either gives us insight into areas where we can improve and better, or it forces us to realize that our validation is what ultimately counts.
In some ways, there are parallels with being hard to relate with; that’s because when we’re aligned with our authentic self, it acts as a trigger for the haters to come out of their droves. They confirm you are higher than them because they feel the need to pull you down, so really, it’s a compliment of where you stand.
4. Value Time Alone
The journey into self-love and self-acceptance must begin with self-examination. Until you take the journey of self-reflection, it is almost impossible to grow or learn in life.
– Iyanla Vanzant
I consider myself an introvert with extravert tendencies. I can thrive in the latter, but really I crave the former more than anything. Not only is it a time to recharge, but it is also time to reflect on the trajectory of my journey, restrategize, question, and measure my progress thus far.
Time alone allows time to dissect what is working and not working, uncover breakthroughs and hone my intentions. It allows me to decompress and assess how I feel and what tasks or goals are important to me rather than the influences of the outside world.
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
Making time alone has become a priority in my life because it gives me an edge and a new fresh set of eyes for when I come back to a problem. Sometimes in life, we feel the need to stay on the problem with the same energy and way of thinking, not realizing that we’re doing more damage than good. When we make a point to prioritize time alone, we can recalibrate ourselves to an optimal way of thinking so that we can make better plans and actions.
Sometimes along the journey of personal growth, it’s easy for us to forget the micro-goals we’re achieving along the way of the macro-goals.
I’ll admit that I have been guilty of overly fixating on the destination rather than appreciating the life-changing effects that the journey has to offer.
Sometimes we can get so consumed by the arriving part that we fail to enjoy the moment, believing that our salvation can only be found somewhere else and not in this present moment.
Although the destination assigns meaning to the journey, the destination helps us estimate how far we need to go, whereas the journey is where real progress is made.
Being hung up on ‘are we there yet?’ takes away from the foundations we’re trying to create so that we can sustain and keep these goals in our life.
I’ve mentioned this in my weight-loss journey before, and the message can be applied here as well:
As fast as we get it is as fast as we lose it.
The more we spend time ensuring that we lay the best quality brick every step along the way for the foundations of the life we want, the stronger it will be to ensure that we do not revert to old habits.
The journey of personal growth is filled with uncertainty and obstacles, but we call upon our strongest selves to respond when we confront it. When we forge a habit of doing so, again and again, it’ll only be a matter of time that our strongest self will become our new reality.
Other articles you may be interested in:
The War of Being Yourself in 2021: Accessing Authenticity
‘‘That which is to give light must endure burning’’- Viktor Frankl
Fat-loss Engineered: A No-B.S. Guide on How I Lost 47lbs
Debunking the confusion and myths behind weight-loss.