Take a moment to think about your life five years ago. You’ll likely notice many things have changed since then. Whether it’s the way you wear your hair, or where you work, you aren’t exactly as you were back then. I can speak for myself and say a lot has changed in five years.
The reality is change is inevitable; even when we resist and push back. This is why it’s so critical to take charge of your personal growth and grow in the direction you desire. Why is personal growth so important anyway?
Without growth, it’s almost impossible to evolve into the best version of yourself. To experience true fulfillment and find your feet in an often-confusing world, you need to commit to continuous growth. That aside, personal growth can significantly enhance your wellbeing. Personal growth studies found personal growth is associated with several positive wellbeing outcomes like increased resilience, self-acceptance, and positive relations with other people. let's dig deeper into the benefits of personal growth and how it can transform your life.
What is Personal Growth?
Personal growth is about your development as an individual. Some elements of personal growth include improving:
Now that we’ve looked at what personal growth is, here are a few reasons it’s so important.
To Live Life on YOUR Terms
Many people are living the life others want them to live, and not the life they want to live. They’re stuck trying to live up to the expectations of family, friends, or spouses and consequently, never really live the life of their dreams.
Personal growth is one way to escape this dark hole as through self-discovery, you learn more about who you are and the life you want to live. Personal growth gives you the courage to say no to things that don’t align with what you want, be it a career, partner, or opportunity. It also gives you the confidence to believe the life you want is possible.
I have grown through many dark times in my life, and thankfully, that growth made it possible for me to get two college degrees in Psychology and Social Work (took me almost three decades), become a therapist, and marry my husband of 20 years. Allowing myself to embark on the journey of personal growth led me to live life on my terms, and it’s something you can do too.
So You Can Define Success on Your Own Terms
Success is something many strive for. While the universal definition of success may include getting listed in Forbes, driving the nicest cars, and having a robust social media following, that isn’t the only way to define success. As you go along your personal growth journey, you get a sense of what matters most to you and define success for yourself.
Success could be reaching optimum health or being able to advocate for yourself when it matters most. It could also be maintaining healthy relationships with loved ones or creating opportunities for disadvantaged people. To define success for yourself, you need to challenge yourself, know who you are, and understand why you’re here.
For Better Quality Relationships
A Harvard Study of Adult Development found close relationships––more than money or fame–– are what keep people happy throughout their lives. Said relationships can help shield you from life’s hardships and delay mental as well as physical decline.
You’ve probably heard the saying, ‘it takes two people to make a relationship work’, before. Well, this is often true as relationships often end when one or both parties stop putting in work. That said, part of “putting in work” is investing in personal growth.
When you work on yourself, it improves your emotional intelligence, which makes it easier for you to communicate with and understand other people.
For example, if you struggle with conflict and confrontation, reading self-help books could help you understand why, and give you the tools you need to become better at conflict resolution. This, in turn, can positively impact your relationships. Not only can personal growth improve your relationship with others––it can also improve the one you have with yourself.
To Reach a Place of True Happiness
Happiness often seems like an elusive idea; something that’s unattainable. While everyone has different ideas about what it is and how to get it, it’s left to individuals to define happiness on their own.
The happiness pie chart proposed in a paper published in the Review of General Psychology found 50% of your happiness is determined by your genetics, 10% by life circumstances ,and 40% by your daily activities. Although this has been widely debated, it tells us we have some control over our happiness.
When you include personal growth in your daily activities, you give yourself a chance to discover new things including what makes you happy and what doesn’t. You’re also able to grow through the unhappiness and come out on the other end stronger than ever.
This has been my experience as I’ve had seasons of unhappiness; I’ve been where each of my clients have been. I’ve struggled to be heard, validated, accepted, and to be happy. I’ve suffered trauma, long term injuries, and disappointment.
I’ve been through miscarriages, Invitro-fertilization, and postpartum depression. Thanks to personal growth, I didn’t give up. Although I still have moments of unhappiness as we all do, I truly understand how to create happiness in my life.
To Have a True Sense of Self
Have you ever met someone who seems to know exactly who they are? They seem assertive, confident, and live out their values. These types of people probably aren’t born this way; it’s a result of consistent personal development and growth. When you take personal growth seriously, it helps you develop a better sense of self and the real you shines through.
To get to the core of who you are, you may need to do a great deal of reading, meditating, journaling, and therapy. However, you’ll notice you feel more connected to yourself and confident in your skin. When you have a true sense of self, it’s also easier to avoid being influenced by others and their ideas of who you think you should be. You begin living a more authentic life and find it easier to connect with others.
Because I’ve grown through my past experiences and gained a true sense of self, I can easily connect and relate with my clients. Frequent comments I get from them include, “you’re so easy to talk to”, “everything you just said is exactly what I’m experiencing!”, “your profile really spoke to me” or “you get me! Thanks for validating my feelings.”
My ability to connect with them creates an opening for me to help lead and support them through their journey of personal growth. That said, I can do this because I’ve taken time to discover who I am and live authentically.
Personal growth can be a frustrating journey, but you don’t have to do it alone. If you need support along your journey or feel lost, know there is help available. I provide therapy services which are a safe space for people who need guidance and clarity.
Wishing you all the best on your journey to a better you!