Making the choice to pursue personal growth and development is awesome. Seriously, I highly recommend it! Whether it’s the decision to heal from past pain, reach a goal, develop new skills, learn to set boundaries, or establish a new relationship with your health, self, or with others, you’re sure to enhance your quality of life. Whatever growth looks like for you, it’s a journey that allows you to develop more self-awareness. It’s setting an intention and making a choice for self-investment- you’re choosing to invest more into who you are and who you are becoming.
Personal growth and development look different for everyone. Whatever their end goal, one thing’s for certain- they want more. Whatever that more might look like is entirely up to the individual. When you start a journey of personal growth and development, you can bet that you’ll discover more about yourself in ways you’d never imagined. You’ll realize dreams and aspirations, discover quirks and characteristics you like, dislike, or even want to improve. You will start to unravel the intricacy that is YOU.
About three years ago, I started on a journey of a lifetime. I say a lifetime because that’s my experience with personal G&D (growth and development…shortening it just sounded cooler). We are always capable of learning (and unlearning) new things about ourselves. We are always capable of more.
What was originally birthed out sheer desperation to survive motherhood with crippling anxiety turned into a wild, beautiful process of reclaiming myself- who I was, my physical and mental health, and so, so much more. I knew it was going to be work. I knew healing required change in order to grow. I also knew it was inevitable to experience setbacks from time to time (believe me, I have my crap-days). But I was allured by the magical sound of “personal growth”. I was all about becoming who I felt I was meant to be. It sounded nice!
What I did not know was that starting a journey of personal growth and development would be hard AF. Back in 2017, I remember thinking I’d hit up a few counseling sessions and probably be good. The joke was one me. Managing and healing PTSD and anxiety disorder isn’t a one-stop-shop and I definitely wasn’t able to nip it in the bud in a few counseling sessions.
I soon realized that true personal growth and development is a process.
Whether you’ve started your own path of personal growth or not, it’s always nice to know what to expect. When I started my own journey, I was totally under the impression that while it would be a shift, I expected it to be a smoother process than it has been. There are a few things about personal growth and development that nobody ever told me and would have been nice to have on my radar, even a little bit!
WHAT NOBODY TELLS YOU ABOUT PERSONAL GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT
– IT’S UNCOMFORTABLE AT FIRST.
Change can be one of the hardest things. Even if the change is good, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. The very fact that something feels different than what we’re used to feeling is enough to cause discomfort. When we’ve done the same thing, engaged in the same behaviors, or even felt the same way thing for so long, it literally becomes a part of us, not just in our habits or routine, but on a physiological level.
On a physiological level, our bodies can become addicted to old patterns and even emotions.
We think the same thoughts > result in the same feelings > we engage in the same behaviors.
When we do the same thing over and over again, it becomes a habit. Emotions cause certain hormones in our bodies that our bodies get used to. The same applies to food. Food changes our physiology, either in a positive way or a negative way. If someone is quitting sugar cold turkey or cleaning up their diet, it’s common for cravings to be triggers at first or for our bodies to be like “what the heck is happening?!”.
When I decided to reclaim myself, I started with just speaking more words of positivity and gratitude. I wanted to infuse this into my morning routine. It was SO hard at first. It was easier to hit snooze, get out of bed and just started the day, or even complain about the lack of sleep or having to wake up so early (I’ll admit it- I can be more of a Negative Nancy that I’d like to admit. It was tough even to find three things I was grateful for first thing in the morning). By creating this habit and starting to focus on positive, life-giving gratitude, I was starting to form new neuropathways in my brain.
Whether it’s replacing life-stunting habits with more life-giving habits, trying to cut out refined sugar, or even striving to set boundaries, – whatever personal development looks like for you- physical and mental resistance is normal. Give yourself some grace, friend. It gets better with time. Think of it like getting new shoes. You need to break them in, but once you do, they’re so much easier to put on and enjoy.
– IT WILL FEEL SELFISH, BUT IT’S NOT.
Choosing to invest and focus time on personal development. Unfortunately, this perceived selfishness prevents many from chasing dreams or pursuing a more fulfilling life. I see this a lot in motherhood. I’ve met many women that have a deep-rooted desire for personal growth, but they feel they have to sacrifice themselves on the altar of motherhood. Motherhood is a sacrifice, but also one worth making. But there’s nothing wrong with finding outlets for yourself even when you’re a mom. It doesn’t mean you’re priorities aren’t aligned, it just means that you want to align with who you are a little bit more.
And that’s perfectly okay.
But I want to encourage you: You’re not selfish; you’re self-aware. Whether it’s training for a half marathon, scheduling in self-care, bettering a business strategy, or achieving a personal goal, you’re worth every bit.
You’re not being selfish with your time.
You’re not a bad mom.
You’re not rude, prude, or vane.
You’re learning to fill your cup (which will actually help you pour out to others more!).
You’re prioritizing yourself (for once!).
You’re recognizing your worth (and power!).
Once you start reaping all the scrumptious benefits of personal development and growth, you won’t regret it one bit.
– Speaking of time…GROWTH TAKES TIME.
I’ll keep this short: Don’t expect an overnight shift in who you are or in breaking old habits or patterns. The word “development” itself is defined as a process, Personal growth is a personal process. Ever heard the old saying, “Rome wasn’t built overnight”? Well, neither were you.
Healing trauma takes time.
Reaching personal goals takes time.
Change can take a lot of time.
– STARTING TO FOCUS ON PERSONAL GROWTH SHOWS YOU WHO YOUR REAL FRIENDS ARE
When you begin a journey of personal development, don’t be surprised when all kinds of unpleasantries surface, particularly among your circle of friends. Personal development helps decipher between acquaintances and actual friendship. It also helps you decipher the difference between friendship and the genuine relationships that you’re willing to invest in and that are also willing to invest in you.
Since personal development requires more time devoted to personal pursuits- whether that’s more intention time working on yourself, your family, your business, your goals, etc.- it will take time from others.
By all means, communicate your needs to those that matte in your circle. Let your friends know that this season things might look a little different in terms of your schedule or availability. Just don’t be completed shocked when there’s some resistance in your relationships. Sometimes, they just don’t understand. Sometimes, it’s an adjustment period if you’re not as available as you were before. But a lot of the time, it’s not you. It’s not because you’re choosing you this season; it’s because they’re not choosing themselves.
Listen, I have fewer friends on the other side of trauma and also after getting serious about prioritizing personal growth. Those that stuck around and met me where I was at are the ones still in my life. I’ve also met a few incredible people along this journey that will undoubtedly be lifelong friendships because they just get it.
It’s okay to outgrow friendships. You’re not outgrowing the person. It’s not that you don’t love them as a friend. It’s just time to grow in a new way. Sometimes they grow with you. Sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they support you and cheer you on. Sometimes they don’t.
– THIS PERSONAL GROWTH JOURNEY MIGHT FEEL LONELY.
Because personal development is just that- personal- it can feel a bit lonely. If you’re in a new season but others are not, or if old friends are dropping like flies, it can feel borderline isolating. Just remember, this is a personal journey. Some will not understand. Some will not get it.
I want to encourage you to reframe your thinking. There are others out there working on themselves, too! We have the ability to connect to folks within seconds at our fingertips. Send a message, join a group, introduce yourself, use whatever hashtag you need to find a community that just might be going through a similar season too.
– PERSONAL GROWTH ISN’T JUST ABOUT LEARNING. IT’S ABOUT UNLEARNING.
We are a product of many things. The way and the culture in which we were raised, how we were parented, experiences of our childhood and beyond, things we were told…the thinking and feeling and being in the world that we carry are engrained in us from a young age. By the time we’re adults, there’s a lot that might be coming against us.
Our past pain tries to keep us in bondage; trauma tries to keep us stuck in reverse.
Self-liming beliefs try to us what we can or cannot do; who we are and who we are not.
Real talk: I fully believe that there’s a darkness that does not want any light to prevail. The same darkness does not want our God-given purpose(s) to be made manifest. On this side of Heaven, we will experience spiritual attacks and resistance in many forms to try to prevent us from aligning with who we were made to be. Now more than ever, we need to recognize who we are called to be. We need to un-learn the negative, limiting things we’ve been taught- the lies we’ve been told and also the lies we’ve chosen to believe that limit us.
When you pursue personal development, you are pursuing your truth. Sometimes we need to unlearn old habits, ways of thinking, and beliefs so we can learn who we truly are and what we are capable of.
Personal development sounds like fun, right? Hopefully, this post doesn’t dissuade or discourage you from pursuing your own path of personal development and growth.
Believe me, that’s not my intention.
Coming from someone that was blindsided by the aforementioned harder parts of this journey, I wanted to give you a heads up. You are not alone if you’re experiencing any of this on your journey now.
IT’S ALL WORTH IT.
Personal development is life-giving. The pros FAR outweigh any cons. Many of this cons-all of the in fact- are temporary and end up being better for us in the long run. Sure, we might lose a few “friends” and might have to ease through that normal discomfort of resistance, but growing and becoming more- more aware, more healed, more experienced, more enlightened, more deep-rooted- is totally, completely, whole-heartedly worth it.
I am worth it.
You are worth it.
We are worth it.
Are you on a journey of personal growth this season?
– Maddie Adeline