As I have been writing articles for my blog and newsletter, I’ve started to realize that I have been making a very huge assumption. Specifically, I have been assuming that my readers really understand the concept of personal growth, recognize the full benefits that come with it, and have a clear desire to pursue a lifestyle that heavily embraces this ideology. Due to this, I decided that it would be good to take a step back and actually talk about personal growth itself and look at the underlying philosophy behind most of the self-help field.
The self-help field operates on a philosophy that works off of what many see as an ugly truth.
The ugly truth is this:
In every failed relationship, every bad job, every bad grade, every bad decision, every life problem, and every upsetting moment you’ve ever experienced there is one common key factor and that key factor is you. This is also true for all the good things in life too.
What does this mean?
In otherwords, the self-help field runs under a basic philosophy that everything in your life starts and ends with you. The reason that this is an ugly truth is that it makes you responsible for pretty close to everything you experience in your life, and, if you have a lot of terrible things in your life, the idea of being responsible for them is rather unpleasant. Personal growth is also work. It means intentionally getting out of your comfort zone, doing things you might be scared of, facing parts of yourself you don’t like, and being a lot less inactive in your own life.
The reason why many people like this philosophy and embrace it is that, while it requires taking responsibility for a lot of unpleasant things, it also makes you the decider of how you’ll live your life. Instead of blaming the world around you for your problems you take action into your own hands and make those problems something within your power to change.
The other key component is that self-help runs under ideology that everything in your life is interconnected. This is something, as a life coach, you come to understand very quickly. Often when I get a client who keeps avoiding a specific problem, everything else they talk about leads them straight back to that issue.
For example, you might have somebody who struggles in school. The fact that they are struggling in school makes them feel incompetent. This in turn affects their confidence. Due to their lack of confidence, they struggle making friends. Since they can’t make friends or get good grades, they feel like they can’t do anything right, so they cope by avoiding their problems through spending hours upon hours on the computer. This then results in their room becoming a mess, their health going to crap, and their confidence to plummet even further. Their family then gets both very worried and frustrated that this person has become so miserable in their own life. This then creates drama and family tension which makes the scenario even worse, and the whole situations keeps snowballing.
Another example would be you have somebody dislikes their body and as a result hates taking care of their health. Since they don’t take care of their health, they get sick more often and get tired more frequently. This makes them struggle with being productive and as a result their job suffers. Since their job suffers, they struggle to make enough money to support themselves. Being relatively broke, they don’t have the money to eat out or do anything fun. This in turn affects both their hobbies and their social life. Their girlfriend or boyfriend may also dump them because they’re high maintenance. In the end, their whole life is upside down, because one area of their life is out of whack throwing the rest of their life into chaos.
How this relates to self-help.
This concept also works the other way around. Improving any area of your life will also generally improve all the other areas of your life as well. This is why activities like yoga, meditation, tai chi, etc. get popular in the self-help world. The idea is that, if you take care of your physical/mental health, other areas of your life will improve as a byproduct. This is also why you might see me writing abstract articles about personal growth where I teach you how to identify and address minor problems or issues in your life. This is because often minor issues can be easy to solve, and, while they seem relatively unconnected, they often result in other areas of your life improving.
Anyway, that’s ideology behind personal growth. You might be somebody very familiar with personal growth or this may be a totally new idea to you. In either case, I think it’s good to know what personal growth is really about. If personal growth is in fact new to you, it will up to you whether this is something you’d want to actively pursue. Embracing a life of heavy personal growth is often very challenging and difficult, but it is also incredibly rewarding. My hope is that with this new information you’ll be able to make an informed decision.
images provided by Andrea Vail and Davide Restivo