What is personal growth and self-development?

I think it’s clear to see that we are not the same person we were 10 even 5 years ago. For some of us this has been a natural process. We haven’t actively forced ourselves to change our perceptions, that has been a process that has happened subconsciously without a second thought. If this, is you, I’m happy for you. How lucky are you to grow positively as a human being without having to really think about it? It’s what most of us dream of! I do, however, feel confident in saying you are probably in the minority! And that for the majority of people, growth and self-development hasn’t been an attractive journey. Recognising there are traits you ought to or want to change within yourself is the first but hardest step to self-development. The concept of development can be hard to communicate with others because everyone’s growth and development will look a little different. It can sometimes feel as though you aren’t being heard or seen, but that’s because your friends’ goals won’t match yours. And that’s okay. You are you. 

As humans we are a never-ending cycle of development. We might reach one milestone and then 3 years later develop into something greater, because you are an ever-evolving book continuously educating yourself. Allowing yourself to step onto the next milestone of development can be where anxiety and fear kick in, aka Imposter syndrome. Your body’s natural reaction to bettering yourself is to fight against it because it feels unknown. If this feels like you, I suggest reading Brianna West’s “101 Essays To Change The Way You Think”. Not only did this change the way I think but it also changed my entire outlook on life and allowed space for mass personal development. “It’s just the way I am”, a common phrase I used to say when I felt attacked by somebody’s comments or thoughts on how I behaved. But the truth is, nothing has to be an essential part of you unless you decide it is. For me, I personally think the biggest part of 

self-development is looking at the ways you have sincerely failed and seeing where you can commit to doing better. This requires emotional intelligence. Having emotional intelligence is not only an integral part of a successful and happier life but it allows you to acknowledge your success and failures without letting them destroy you. Again, this is incredibly personal to me, but I do think having emotional intelligence opens conversations and allows you to avoid conflict. Next time you are having a discussion with someone, and they say a point you might not agree with, try responding with “that’s interesting you think that, tell me more”. Instead of completely shooting them down as though their opinion is idiotic and doesn’t matter. Being able to understand other people’s opinions without getting offended, is a sure sign of huge personal development and let’s face it, if nothing else, kindness, which the world needs a little more of right now.

There are so many ways in which we can focus on our personal development and growth. For example, developing your self-confidence, your emotional intelligence, your physical state, listening actively, being present, starting to be empathetic and make your body language a priority. There are a hundred other ways, but these are my favourite. Once you start developing personally and seeing that growth within your mindset and conscious way of thinking, you will never be the same again. Knowing and taking responsibility for your behaviour is the key to successful growth. I’ll leave you with the a question I ask myself regularly; “How much of your self-perception is sustained by culture or people’s expectations?” 

By Hollie Wilkinson 

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