People throw about the idea of personal growth quite a bit, but it always has struck me as an odd statement. They all say they are “pro growth” but when it comes to defining it, things get a little more foggy.
What is personal growth? Most people would say it is becoming a better person. But what exactly does that mean? Does it mean that I am nicer to others? More capable to bravely face the world? Not addicted to cigarettes anymore?
I will give you my definition of personal growth. Shedding your old confinements, allowing for your own rebirth.
The best image that we can use for growth is a seed.* Inside a seed is a tiny plant, surrounded by an outer shell. Only by breaking down the outer shell, can the inner plant break out and create its life. (Side note, we also see a similar idea in the image of the Phoenix.)
We too are held back by external restrictions. For some of us it is fear. Others of us self-image. And others ego. In fact, only we have the insight to figure out what it our individual restrictions actually are.
So the first step to self growth is to try to identify what exactly it is that holds us back in life. Only then, can we put in place a game plan to completely break free from our self-imposed restricting binds. Once that is done, a new younger, more healthy version of ourselves can emerge, free of its old fetters.
How can we tell if we are growing? Look for change. Change is the natural outcome from growth. Since what is coming out of the growth process is fundamentally different that what went in. There has been a rebirth, and with it, new differences. If we don’t see any change in our actions – then we know we are stagnating and not growing.
However, it is important to realize that those fetters that hold us back serve some purpose for us emotionally. Therefore, another sign that you are getting close to change, is that you are facing some fear.
Back to our image of the seed. Imagine how fearful it must be when the little plant’s protective coating goes away, leaving it exposed to the whims of the world! If we could only tell the little plant, don’t worry, only through raw exposure to the world can you thrive!
Of course, we like security, so we tend to steer clear of fear, resulting in little change and little personal growth. However, let’s take to heart the message we gave the little plant…
Only through raw exposure to the world, will we thrive!
*How do seeds work? What makes them germinate?
Seeds are tiny packets of carbohydrates, plus a tiny future plant. The first thing that all seeds need in order to germinate is water. When water and oxygen are taken up, the plant embryo can begin respiration and can digest the carbohydrate food source packaged with it and then can begin to grow.