Growth is something we all experience. Whether consciously or not, we do. You’re not the same person you were 5 years ago, nor the same person you were 2 weeks ago. There are some things we notice about ourselves as signs of growth. Things about our routines or lifestyles that have change so drastically that they almost completely redefine who we are. Then there are times where we need growth – times where we find ourselves needing a change because we are no longer challenged and stimulated, or simply because where we are in life is not helping us get to where we want to be.
The other day I was asked by somebody about a personal situation that they were having difficulty with. Many people had asked me about different situations but the actual solution across the board was the same – in my opinion. Although their problems were different something they all had in common was a specific behavior that they were unable to shake. A bad habit that they couldn’t stop doing, even though the actual act of doing it is what was holding them back from realizing their full potential. Upon further discussion with each of them, I had a realization about how we actually move past such situations.
Being aware of who you are – meaning having an awareness of what your strengths are, what your weaknesses are, how you react to both good and bad news, how you deal with people, etc. are critical parts of your growth process. To be able to identify these behaviors in any given situation is to immediately acknowledge and recognize areas of growth. This becomes extremely important not only in challenging times, but in times where you NEED to grow. Training yourself to become aware of your thought processes is to provide yourself with a list of things you can work on in order to make progress towards whatever goal or whatever version of yourself you are trying to be.
So how do we become self aware? How do we shortlist things about ourselves that we can identify as areas of growth? This is where reflection comes in. Reflection is not only an action, but to me it is also a tool. A tool for growth and self development. To reflect on yourself, your actions, your life or anything about who you are is not easy, as sometimes we try to convince ourselves that things are a certain way when in reality they are not. Having said that though, reflection is a critical part of growth. The key to reflecting in a positive way is to do everything you can to reflect objectively. For example, reflecting objectively on any challenge you may encounter includes asking yourself if you are at fault for that challenge. Quite literally it is a conversation without yourself about everything you experience. Once you reflect, you will identify small moments, behaviors, habits, or patterns of thought that can be extremely useful when the time comes to grow. You will already know that you react a certain way when faced with challenges, and you can anticipate that and know yourself better when a challenge does come up.
Getting to know yourself is not an easy process and it takes time, but you are also constantly changing. Taking the time to properly reflect, and learn about who you are can allow you to be in control of how you grow – in terms of what areas you want to grow in, and what areas you feel you need to grow in.
Take time to get to know yourself – so many of the answers you are looking for already exist within you.