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We all know that personal growth is important, but it can be tough to figure out what you need to do because there’s a lot of conflicting advice out there.
In this video I’ll be diving into 5 Things I’ve Learned From My Own Personal Growth Work.
I’ll share with you ways of approaching growth and change that have helped me over the past 30 years of working on myself and hopefully they’ll help you too.
1. Change doesn’t happen in an atmosphere of shame.
If you’re wanting to pursue personal growth because you feel like something’s wrong with the way you are, and you’re trying to become someone better, it can tend to make it harder to grow.
When you’re trying to move away from something, you stay locked in relationship with it. So when you’re trying to get away from the self you feel is wrong or bad, you stay locked in reaction to that self.
If you’re pushing yourself to grow because you feel like something’s wrong with you and you’re bad and unworthy the way you are, that’s the thing to address.
Befriending and learning to work with those feelings of unworthiness, of needing to change yourself to be acceptable, is where your work actually lies.
At some point, you need to turn your attention away from the pain and look toward the vision of what you’re wanting to create with your life, who you’re wanting to be, how you’re wanting to show up, and where you’re wanting to go, and let that vision pull you forward.
That’s going to get you much further than staying focused on trying to get out of pain.
2. Acceptance is the root of being able to make new choices.
As Carl Jung said, “We cannot change anything unless we accept it.”
The only time you actually release the past and make real changes is when you’re no longer locked in and reacting to it anymore. So work on creating a foundation of self-acceptance as your foundation for change.
3. The ego will grab at anything to prop itself up.
Your ego will grab at any personal or spiritual growth you’ve done that’s been successful and use it as a way for you to feel superior to others.
When you hear yourself saying, “Oh, they’re not doing the work,” you know that your ego has co-opted your growth and you’ve now created an identity around being superior to others because you’re working on yourself.
We don’t know what anyone else’s work is to do. All we can know is our own work, so keep your eyes on your own street.
If you’re really growing, you become more accepting of other people where they’re at.
That doesn’t mean that you have to stay in relationship with people if you’ve outgrown them or they no longer are a good fit.
You don’t need to judge them, even as you recognize that you’ve outgrown them.
4. Growth happens in a spiral.
There isn’t a destination where you’re like, “Oh, I’m grown, I’m good,” and you’re never going to get triggered again, you’re never going to say something nasty to somebody again, and you’re never gonna mess up.
That’s not actually how growth works. It works as a spiral. You’ll come across the same issues again, and again, even the ones you think you’ve handled and think you’re done with.
I like to think of it as a downward spiral, so that you become more and more true to the core, the essence, the real self that exists deep within you.
You’re going to pass through the same issues over and over and over again as you go deeper in the spiral. But you’re going to be in a new relationship with those issues. You won’t get stuck as long, you’ll catch them more quickly as they come up.
Sometimes you’ll even be able to catch one before it takes over and adjust.
And another reason why I like to conceive of the spiral as something going deeper and deeper inward, is because we are meant to be in our bodies on the planet. It’s not about transcending and somehow not having to be human.
We can be divine and human at the same time. We just tend to want to forget the human part because it’s a pain in the butt.
5. The goal of growth isn’t perfection, it’s presence and awareness.
Cultivating presence and awareness allows you to be kind, respectful, and to have levity in the face of shitty circumstances, no matter what’s going on inside and around you.
To me, that’s the true goal of growth.
Can I show up and meet life and its shenanigans, traumas, wins, losses, and wars?
Can I love in the midst of difficulty?
Can I stay present in the midst of a conflict and not escalate it because I’m trying to be right?
Presence and awareness are really the thing to aim for more than perfection, because really, there’s no such thing.
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