I believe humans can achieve personal growth through travelling and this is a long and never-ending process.
Writing about my journey of self-development and how it changed my life was not a topic I’ve ever thought of writing. But I want to share this with all my friends and everyone else who needs it. Because I am sure you do need to read it since you are already here. And that’s ok.
Personal growth is a lot about standards and expectations
I am at the end of my voluntary service, after a total of 12 months. I took the opportunity, not knowing how much it will change my life. Now I look back, and I don’t regret doing so. I felt stuck in a moment in my life when everyone one around seemed to figure it out already. That can throw someone in depression. (But I quit my job just in time to save my soul.)
I took the opportunity of volunteering, not knowing how much it will change my life. Now I look back, and I don’t regret doing so. I felt stuck in a moment in my life when everyone one around seemed to figure it out already. That can throw someone in depression.
Stuck in a job I hated, surrounded mostly by people I felt no connection to and having no word to say over my life. Drifting away, I would say. Searching some fresh air, but being stuck with the polluted air of the big city.
But I had to make a choice. I was choosing between the same old life or the hope of the unknown, of a thrilling and new adventure.
The mixed feeling of fear and excitement is for a moment a good enough reason to give it a go. To get crazy, how some might call it.
It gets hard to take a step forward and go for it when all around you the echo of stability and fear. That voice screaming: “Don’t give it all up for something you have no clue about”. But I did it anyway.
Personal growth is also about giving up some parts of you
Maybe I was lucky, or perhaps I was stuck, but it felt like nothing I have known before. That feeling of freedom.
The acknowledgement of empowerment which derives from deciding for yourself. It’s this complex and great feeling, like an AHA moment, when you discover something.
Plain simple it’s discovering you have complete power over your life. And others have only opinions and pieces of advice. It took me many years to get here, but I did it.
I have realised this fundamental thing, which now seems so obvious.
But looking back, it almost seems like nobody told me this. Ever since I’ve got in school, there were always homework and assignments. There were things to do and a clear and straightforward way to do it.
There was a guideline for everything, and all inputs were graded or somehow measured based on those guidelines. In my head, it was inconceivable to think things could be otherwise. I was terrified as a child, thinking I could never manage the grown-up life.
I started my self-development journey because I was feeling undecided and anxious
Being now conscious of my freedom, it gives me a feeling of well-being. But I also feel pressured by others.
Knowing I am responsible for the way life unfolds can also make me feel undecided and anxious. After waking up from the repetitive pattern I used to call living, I started learning about myself. I put everything and everyone else on hold while I gave time to myself.
I had no idea what I needed or where I could get it. But seeing how fragile life is, I decided to make my decision based on what feels right, right now.
Humans have needs
The most important ones are emotional needs, after the basic ones like shelter and food. Most of us don’t realise them. We cannot name our needs and have no answer on how we can fulfil them.
Paying attention to your own decisions and reactions is one of the most significant insight on what you truly need. Being in the place of not knowing who I was, everything was confusing. And people around me had different expectations, judging my life based on their beliefs.
It’s hard to make the difference between other people’s expectations and what you want.
The school had no interest in teaching me how to find out what I want to do with my life.
Like most people my age, I had to spend my early 20s, the most beautiful years of my life, growing up and getting to know myself, while everyone else thought I was crazy.
You don’t only grow up because you are 18 and you are “old enough”. You grow up when you get to see life outside of a classroom. Taking time to see and explore life, while getting to know yourself should be a class in school.
Personal growth: Each journey is different. Because we all have different needs
We are all different. And we all have different requirements regarding the time required to learn or to adapt. That’s why there is no “pill to cure everything” (literally and metaphorically). There is no guaranteed way to figure things out. What works for me may or may not work for you!
All the stories you’ve heard and read about can be used as an inspiration. But don’t expect to find a solution to what you should do.
The more you see, hear and read about the life of others, the more inspired you will get!
That thing we call intuition will lead you on your path. Of course, intuition is just another word used to describe the process of decision making, based on previous experiences.
There isn’t one proven and unique way to figure things out.
But in the end, it is you who will have to make this journey. Everyone else can only give advice.
I believe most people want to help because they feel they know more about you and they share their thoughts as advice. I get it all the time from friends and family. The bad thing is that they don’t stop, and expect a reply.
I used to be embarrassed when I had a different opinion. But this is me, and I have a different way of seeing things, different beliefs, and probably I will discover I want different things. And that’s ok!
Personal growth: Discovering and being aware of what I like
As I said before, I cannot tell you what to do to find out what you need to do or what you want. But I can tell you what works for me.
I had no clue that I was the problem. I had a problem with myself.
Having all these ideas, from everyone around me, about how I should do things, got me confused and insecure.
They all meant well, but receiving all kinds of advice got me in this never-ending process of over-thinking everything. And then there was no time left actually to take any real decisions and do something.
It’s funny how Google suggested “over-thinking is the biggest cause of unhappiness“, while I was searching for a synonym for over-thinking. This can only mean one thing: You are not the only one struggling with it.
There is me, and the other 1 billion people who are continually googling “How to be happy”. There is no answer. You will have to spend time by yourself, with yourself. To overcome your fears and fight off other’s ideas, and get your answer.
This is how I see personal growth and self-development:
1. Either take the time now, find it out and enjoy the time now and doing whatever it is that makes you happy or
2. Spend your life on autopilot, not thinking about what happens around or with you, while keeping your mind busy with TV or other information which focus most of the time on what happened already.
For things to happen, I found out it works best when I focus on them, when I think in the future.
I imagine, and I prepare. And I visualise. I try to manage what I can in the present, so when that future comes, I will be able to enjoy it and enjoy all of those things I cannot predict. This is how I do it, and I am happy with it.
I try to manage what I can in the present, so when that future comes, I will be able to enjoy it and enjoy all of those things I cannot predict.
Self-discovery: What it looks like
Most of the times, I have no idea what I am doing. But learning and discovering is done when you don’t know the outcome.
I know now how I react in day-to-day situations, and I know what I like and what I don’t from the things which are available in my everyday life. I know how to recognise the people I love.
Learning to know about myself was a significant consequence of realising how important is my time. I use it to enjoy these simple things. But those small things are the things I like.
This is what I’ve realised as I started the journey of personal growth
I have realised my life is my own to treasure and care for it.
And I have realised I can decide for myself, even though I choose differently than those around me. I do have a word to say in everything concerning me. And I should say it! And I am!
Every now and then I miss the feeling of wanderlust, of being lost in an unknown city at midnight. This is how I meet my need for variety, the sense of uncertainty which I get when getting off a train, bus or plane in a foreign country.
Someplace where I don’t know the language, and I can discover how people there are doing basic chores, in a different way than I do it. It makes me realise how narrow is my thinking. It shows me there is so much more to be discovered about everything and everyone. And I get addicted and thirsty for more. To see more and to learn more.
This is where it gets tricky for me.
Finding friends to share this may sometimes take some time or even lack. Those are the moments when I do it alone. But that’s ok too. Because I’ve learnt, I am my favourite person in the world, and I love spending time with myself.
I know which are my small day-to-day joys and what adds value to my time. I rather spend time by myself than with someone who adds no real value to it. There is no point, and I consider it a waste of time. That is why I’ve taken the time to know myself, so in the future, I can focus on my goals, how I can become better and how can I serve others.
That is why I’ve taken the time to know myself, so in the future, I can focus on my goals, how I can become better and how can I serve others.
Personal growth Process: Try and fail, until you grow
Seeing people stuck in a relationship which makes them unhappy or in a job which perpetuates the same routine and lacks sparkle is sad and painful. But trying to help them is only going to transform you into that person from whom you are trying to get away right now.
Do you want to be that friend who is unknowingly putting pressure on you with all his advice? What I do is I tell people my stories, when they ask. When someone is ready to listen to another’s opinion, they will ask for it, maybe sometimes indirectly.
Being happy has no general definition, guidelines, nor does it have a specific deadline to achieve it.
Whatever you are doing now, keep doing it if it feels right. Or stop if it doesn’t! Search for what you want to do. Try and fail. I suppose this is the stage I am in right now.
What about now?
People are sometimes asking “What about now?”.
My answer is “Nowhere”.
I don’t want to create that social pressure of having to be someplace financially or professionally and then cannot change my mind because of it.
The moment you decide to say it out loud “This is what I want:”, it’s the power of pressure which can be used for reaching that. There will always be social pressure, so we can at least use it to our advantage. Take your time, discover, and then use all necessary means to pursue it.