What does personal growth or personal development mean to you?
I notice that some people are put off by these terms and assume it entails a lot of hard work in the form of looking deep within to ‘fix what’s broken’, and of course this can be true, but personal growth and development can be achieved easily on a day to day basis, without the need for long drawn out analysis.
Many people fear bringing unresolved issues to the surface, which they are aware, may affect them because they don’t want to create an emotional imbalance which could throw them off course.
It can seem a daunting task, and many people ignore simple opportunities for personal growth that arise on a daily basis, which could offer them the opportunity to grow on a personal level.
Every day is an opportunity to grow
What many people don’t realise is that every act in every day is an opportunity to grow, and being fearful of the process of growing is probably the only factor holding them back from achieving regular and positive personal growth.
The fact is, personal development isn’t something to be fearful of, and you can develop personally, on a day to day basis, without the daunting task of looking too deeply into your psyche.
The way to achieve this takes two simple steps, perceiving an imbalance, and then more importantly, recognition of the reason for the imbalance.
When I say imbalance I mean an emotional imbalance, if you’re feeling negative emotions you can safely assume that you’re experiencing an emotional imbalance, that’s a given.
These resulting negative emotions are your key to identifying whether this imbalance is one which has recently occurred or is recurring.
Obviously if you have a recurring emotional imbalance, any work you do around this will ultimately be more rewarding in terms of your personal growth. This is what many personal development writers and practitioners refer to as a ‘roadblock’ or ‘being stuck’.
Whether your negative emotion is the result of a recent emotional imbalance or a recurring emotional imbalance doesn’t really matter at this point, you’ve accomplished the first step.
Your emotions are a guidance tool, there only to serve you and highlight any imbalance. Your negative emotions have indicated to you that there is an emotional imbalance; now what’s more important is that you can identify the cause of it.
Recognising the cause of your imbalance
So you now know due to your negative emotion that you have an emotional imbalance, you need to figure out the cause. The negative emotion you are experiencing may not always seem directly related to the cause.
For example, you may be feeling angry but you cannot tie your anger to any recent or specific event. If this is the case think back to how often you have felt this anger, is it something which occurs often?
If so, try and think back to the last few times you felt this anger for no apparent reason, is there a pattern or event associated with the onset of this anger? Try and think ‘outside the box’, the cause isn’t always obvious.
You may experience (or feel) anger when your cognitive and logical mind is telling you that you shouldn’t be experiencing anger. This can lead to confusion and point you in the wrong direction, so try not to be lead cognitively, let your feelings take the lead.
Here’s an example, you come into contact with a person who at first glance is pleasant and polite, and this meeting shouldn’t conjure up any negative emotion. However, this person has a passing resemblance or a mannerism which reminds you of someone from your past who you either mistrusted or had a negative experience with.
The mannerism or resemblance may not be glaringly obvious at first, it may just be a “I can’t quite put my finger on it” moment, where something is niggling you about this new interaction.
Although this person hasn’t done you any harm or given you reason to mistrust them, just by being in their presence may cause you to feel angry. You’re processing this meeting from a past experience and therefore past feelings may emerge.
This is what I mean by recognising the cause of any emotional imbalance. Staying with the example for a moment, once you are aware that a certain mannerism displayed by other people conjures up this feeling of anger within you, you can stop processing this experience from your past feelings and instead process it in the here and now.
You’ve recognised the cause for your reoccurring anger, and by simply being aware of this trigger, you’ve eliminated the possibility of the negative emotion attached to a past experience happening again.
In those two simple steps you have just developed personally, and grown in a way which will stop that specific negative emotion reoccurring. That’s personal development!
You can apply these two simple steps any time you feel negative emotion, which you know is an indication of an emotional imbalance.
The key to happiness
Some people wrongly assume that the key to happiness is being in a constant state of ecstatic elation, continually brimming with positivity and feelings of well being.
As pleasant as this state is, it can never be achieved for any great length of time regardless of how much you may want to stay in this state.
The key to happiness, as with anything else in life, is equilibrium. Your emotions are a tool and an indicator of imbalance, what you do with the tools you have at your disposal is up to you.
For me, personal development is about growth and maintaining emotional balance, and it’s nice to know we all have the ability to achieve this on a daily basis. What does personal development or personal growth mean to you? I’d love to hear your take on it, feel free to comment below.