Personal growth is a journey of inner discovery, a journey that lasts a lifetime because it is not a destination but a path. During this journey we are acquiring several psychological tools that allow us to observe our mind, understand ourselves better and learn to flow with changes.
This growth path is unique and there are several ways to follow it. There are those who resort to coaching sessions, others prefer to enroll in a personal growth course or even follow spiritual masters. However, regardless of the path chosen, to achieve transcendental inner change, we all go through a series of stages of personal growth that underlie that transformation. Knowing them will allow us to understand where we are on the road.
Many people live without knowing each other. They are real strangers to themselves. They choose the path of denial, ignorance and avoidance of problems, inner conflicts and weaknesses. Consequently, it is not strange that they end up developing self-destructive behaviors, that they feel stuck in their lives or that they are not happy.
Therefore, the first step on the path to personal development is to look within. Self-knowledge is vital to be aware of our flaws and weaknesses, as well as to feel proud of our achievements. It allows us to discover who we really are to develop a deep understanding of ourselves and the life we lead.
Only then can we begin to address our problems, instead of ignoring or avoiding them, and take note of our strengths and our potential to become the person we want to be and build the life we want. Self-knowledge courses can be a good starting point to discover our “personal capital” and to appropriate the psychological tools we need.
2. Acceptance of the shadows
Acceptance is usually one of the biggest challenges on the path of personal development because it is difficult for us to recognize and accept our shadows, those parts of ourselves that we do not like or even reject. But self-knowledge must go hand in hand with acceptance.
If we try to change without accepting ourselves, we will not be able to overcome feelings of guilt or shame and we will not feel completely satisfied or happy with the results, even if we have achieved our goals.
Acceptance is, in a sense, similar to forgiveness because it does not imply that we like some of our characteristics or that we justify our bad decisions, but just letting go of the associated anger, contempt or disgust. It is about accepting who we are, without judging ourselves, with neutrality and love, and then undertaking the changes that allow us to grow.
This kind of acceptance leads to a deep sense of self-love and prevents us from wasting precious energy fighting against ourselves or punishing ourselves for who we are or what we have done, to avoid getting stuck in those negative feelings.
3. Take responsibility for our well-being
"To live is to take responsibility for finding the right answer to the problems it raises," wrote Viktor Frankl. Growing up involves taking our life in hand because we understand that our happiness and psychological well-being largely depend on our attitude towards the world.
In this phase of personal growth we finally understand that although we cannot choose the circumstances, we can decide how to respond to them. However, understanding that we are most responsible for our lives and our happiness can be frightening because it means to stop looking for scapegoats for our dissatisfactions and failures.
Either way, when we stop wasting energy on the things we can't change, we can focus on the ones that make a difference. When we take responsibility for our life, making our own decisions, we stop living reactively to start living proactively.
4. Planning and implementation
Getting to know each other and accepting oneself is of little use if it does not lead to a behavioral and attitudinal change. Most people tend to get stuck in this stage of personal development. They know what to do, but they don't, usually due to a lack of discipline and motivation or because they don't have a clear plan to follow.
As a result, they end up returning to their old habits. Old thought patterns regain strength and our minds can sabotage us by destroying all the work done to reactivate the ghost of old fears, insecurities and guilt.
This is why it is important that every path of personal development also has an external projection and is accompanied by concrete projects that allow us to take the necessary steps to build the life we want. Channeling this inner change in actions will allow us to improve self-efficacy and reaffirm ourselves on our path.
5. Find personal meaning
In this phase of personal growth we learn to live with purpose and intention. We live more consciously, we accept and take responsibility for our decisions but, above all, we find the purpose that gives meaning to our existence.
It is a question of finding what Viktor Frankl called the "will to make sense", which implies knowing how to discern the essential from the superfluous, have clarity on our values and set ourselves meaningful goals for the future so as not to allow ourselves to be defeated by circumstances, no matter how much. hard they can be.
Of course, this stage of personal development is not the end point because we never stop growing and knowing ourselves, but it does imply that we have reached a point in our life where we have developed patience, perseverance, wisdom, courage, humility and strength. necessary to follow our path, the one we have chosen.