Personal growth is often spoken of as though it is the same thing as self-improvement, but the two concepts are not always the same thing. Self-improvement suggests a definite agenda of becoming better in some way. Depending on how you approach it, personal growth may not be so much about bettering yourself as it is learning to be at peace with who you are now as well as who you were in the past and who you’ll be in the future. At the same time, there is an element of self-improvement in personal growth in that it often involves changing habits or entirely revamping your life.
Growth or Improvement?
By its very name, self-improvement suggests that you do in fact need improving. Your first step in personal growth, however, should be acceptance. When you recognize that you are valuable and deserving just as you are, this creates a drive to go deeper and figure out who you really are and what you want in life. Where self-improvement might suggest that you need to work harder at your job to get ahead, personal growth might mean discovering that external markers of success are not really meaningful to you and that you might ultimately get more satisfaction out of other things in life, such as relationships or a pastime that you feel passionate about that may not necessarily bring you money or status.
Formal or informal education is a great way to grow. Challenging yourself intellectually and becoming open to new ideas can be life changing. While there are many avenues to informally educate yourself, many feel that the cost of a formal education is too high. However, if you really want to go to college, there are plenty of ways to make that happen. It may be difficult to save enough money to cover the cost of a college education, but Earnest student loans are a great way to pay some or all of those costs. Federal aid and scholarships can help supplement those loans.
As luxury travel becomes popular again, whether you’re only able to get away for a week or just a weekend, or you’re one of those intrepid souls who takes off to travel for months at a time, this is an excellent way to learn more about yourself and the world around you. It’s also a great way to take you out of your everyday comfortable habits and really make you alive to the possibilities around you. When you travel, try to go off the beaten path. Talk to locals.
If you’re in a place where the language is different, challenge yourself to learn some of the new language. Don’t put yourself in unsafe situations, but leave your guidebook and your urge to look up everything unfamiliar on your phone behind and try to stay in the moment. Take the lessons you learn from traveling back home with you. Remember how much more attuned you were to sensory impressions and how much more open you were to talking with different types of people. Approaching your home life in the same way can be a revelation.