Personal growth. What does it mean to you? Does it scare you? Is it a place you rather avoid or not even deal with at all? Is it some type of process or cure that will make you a better person? Is it a journey that in the end will give you happiness and fulfillment? Or perhaps, it’s a destination that when you arrive, all your desires, wants and needs will be waiting for you?
If you, like most people, believe any of the scenarios I have just described, then you do not understand the meaning of personal growth.
The truth is, that the essence of personal growth is not personal at all. Nor does it require any growth on your part physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually.
There is no ‘adding to’ with personal growth. There are no course requirements or educational courses. No certificates and no degrees.
The true nature of personal growth is really quite impersonal. The experience is the same for you as it is for me. No matter your background, who you are, where you come from, the titles you hold, the possessions you call ‘mine.’ All of this is irrelevant.
Personal growth is not about becoming better. It is about recognizing who you already are and letting go of everyone and everything that you identify with as being part of the person you call ‘me.’
To experience personal growth is to experience a diminishing or lessening of identifying with your past and how over a lifetime, you have been conditioned to see yourself and your world in a particular way. You can call that ‘my story.’
Personal growth is about letting go of your story. Now you will ask me, ‘Who am I without my story?’ Great question! To truly experience the essence of personal growth it is necessary to know the answer to that one single question.
Imagine yourself, if you can, living life without your story. No more sad endings. No more unhappiness. No more conflict. The end of searching for the perfect life, the perfect partner, the perfect job, house, car, etc.
Without a story, there is no past and no future. There is only now. You give up being a victim. You stop victimizing others. You live from one moment to the next as who you truly are: a spiritual being enjoying your human experience.
Spirit is our essential nature. When you understand this and I mean really ‘get it’ within every fiber of your being, you are living life authentically.
To live life authentically simply means to be real. Who you really are is not the roles you play. Personal growth is about coming to that realization. Who you are is not your name, your appearance, your possessions. The truth is personal growth begins and ends with not knowing who you are at all.
If that thought scares you or even makes you feel threatened, be okay with those feelings. It is quite natural.
Personal growth is about awakening to who you always have been and always will be. We each awaken through awareness. Through awareness we begin to understand that who we think and believe we are is part of the human condition. Over time, we became convinced that we are defined by and dependent upon all things physical: people, possessions, experiences, events and situations.
Personal growth is a diminishing of who you think you are and an arising of becoming consciously aware of your essential, changeless nature. And what is your essential, changeless nature? It is the same as my and everyone’s essential nature: unconditional love.
Now you know what personal growth is and is not. From this vantage point I would like to give you some hands-on applications to assist you to live your life through your essential, changeless nature of unconditional love.
If any of these applications challenge you, then partner with someone who can guide you through the process. This can be a close friend you feel is truly grounded and feels comfortable in their own skin. Or you can mentor with someone who has gone through the transformational experience of true personal growth.
Applications to Experience Personal Growth:
1. Question every belief you have about yourself. Write these beliefs down. Share them with someone you trust. Are these beliefs absolutely true? If they aren’t, let them go!
2. Write a new story for your life. The story you keep telling yourself is the story you keep on living through and experiencing. Do you want a different ending? Then, write a different story!
3. Give up being a victim of life. This includes letting go of being a victim of other people’s ideas, beliefs, words and behavior. Take responsibility for your own life. Focus on your ideas, your beliefs, the way you express yourself and your behavior. Focus on being a kinder, more loving person.
4. Let go of the past and the emotional pain associated with it. The only way to accomplish this is through the power of forgiveness.
5. Cease worrying about the future. You have been conditioned (as was I) to endlessly worry about tomorrow. Begin to allow the power of trust to dominate your nature. Your breathing as you read this. Trust you will be breathing tomorrow!
Personal growth is about being authentic. When you are authentic, you will feel comfortable in your own skin.
I will close by quoting one of my ‘tips’ from my book I co-authored with Chris. It reads, ‘Be authentic today! Authenticity is more than being real, honest and upfront with others. It is about being true to you. It is also about creating an outer, physical world that reflects who you are at your core…the heart and soul that is you! Do not deprive yourself any longer of the experience of being authentic. It will block you and the world around you from evolving both physically and spiritually. Free yourself and the world by practicing authenticity today!’
Once you do, I promise your life will be totally magnificent! Now you know the true meaning of personal growth!