Navigating The Stages Of Personal Growth — Is It Supposed To Be This Hard?
Have you ever felt stuck and found yourself asking: “What is my purpose”? “What am I doing and what is the reason for my existence?”
If you’ve been asking yourself these questions, you’re clearly in the middle of the second stage of personal growth and development.
Personal growth and development is the process of improving oneself by realizing your potential, expanding your consciousness, setting goals, and continuously enhancing your quality of life.
Sounds fun, right? (Or maybe not so much…)
If you’re going through this process of asking these profound questions, you’re likely wondering if it’s supposed to be this hard. And you’re probably asking if it’s really worth it.
The answer is yes…and yes.
The process of personal growth can be overwhelming and all-consuming. Luckily, there are stages to personal growth, and once you understand them, it makes navigating them (a little) more comfortable.
Hopefully, I can help you understand the process and make you feel a bit less alone.
NAVIGATING THE STAGES OF PERSONAL GROWTH — IS IT SUPPOSED TO BE THIS HARD?
THE FIRST STAGE: UNCONSCIOUSNESS
This stage can also be known as pre-awakening. Some people never move past this stage. This is a place where being a victim is normal.
People in this stage rarely take responsibility for their actions and often blame others and the world for their problems. They believe that everything just happens to them, and they have no control over their lives.
They may feel hopeless to the thought of ever breaking out of these thoughts and actions.
This stage can also be very routine and repetitive like you’re living your life on autopilot.
Feelings during this time may include anger, bitterness, resentment, guilt, a lack of motivation, and apathy. People in this stage also tend to struggle with anxiety, overthinking, and perfectionism.
THE SECOND STAGE: AWARENESS
This stage can also be known as an awakening. This is typically when a person realizes that they can’t keep doing things the same way that they have been. They know that something has to change.
This is typically when they start to ask questions like “Who am I?” “What am I doing?” and “Why am I here?”
This is the hardest stage because you start to question everything that you’ve been taught and your beliefs.
You may also feel very insecure during this stage. You may begin to doubt yourself and your thoughts because you’re not sure where they came from or if they’re even your own.
Some call this stage a spiritual awakening because it’s similar to waking up for the first time and seeing everything literally in a different way.
There is no set length that you spend in this stage, and you will feel a broad range of emotions from excitement of new beginnings to fear of the unknown to guilt for not coming to these realizations sooner or even resentment and wishing to go back to the way things used to be. It is entirely reasonable to start thinking that it’s too hard or that you can’t do it.
STAGE 3: SURRENDER
Once you move through stage 2, you will find yourself giving in a little. You will stop forcing things to happen and start letting go of some of the control that you’ve been white-knuckling for so long. Perfectionism starts to fade.
You will stop overthinking so much and start feeling more. Intuition starts to play a vital role in your life as you begin to trust yourself again.
You realize that while you don’t have control over how others treat you or specific events that happen, you do have control over your thoughts, emotions, and actions.
You slowly begin to change your belief systems and patterns and get more in touch with who you really are. As you start to develop some of these new skills, your confidence will grow. You will see your potential and what you’re capable of.
STAGE 4: ACCEPTANCE AND EXECUTION
The final stage of personal growth is acceptance. This is where you fully accept that your life is entirely up to you and that you have full control over your actions and reactions. Once you start taking full responsibility for your life, the good and the bad, then you become free to change and grow.
Bad things still happen. You will again face significant challenges in your life, but with this stage also comes a new set of questions.
- How are these challenges really serving me?
- What opportunities can come out of this setback?
- How can I see the positive in this situation?
This stage is both terrifying and empowering. This is when you make the realization that life is happening for you instead of to you.
So, if you find yourself somewhere in the middle of these stages; frustrated and not sure whether you can keep going, I hope I have helped you to find some comfort in the knowledge that you are not alone, and these feelings are only temporary.
Personal growth is a lifelong journey. A courageous one at that. You never complete it. It’s something that you continuously work towards.
However, once you understand that the pain of growth far surpasses the pain of being stuck in a life that you don’t love, you settle into feelings of peace and calm.
You begin to view the world with a newfound sense of curiosity and awe. You look back at all the pain, how much you’ve overcome, and how far you’ve come with overwhelming pride and gratitude.
And you know you’re meant for more, and you continuously seek out ways to improve and continue to grow.
While this journey is definitely a tough one, it is also well worth it and gratifying.
“Don’t wish for fewer problems, wish for more skills.” – Jim Rohn