What is personal growth, and how does it relate to your psychology? Whether you have looked at your personal growth from a psychological perspective or not, it’s vital that you get the gist of how our psychology relates to our personal growth.
Personal growth occurs over your lifetime, and it involves the deliberate steps you take in your life daily towards a positive change. Primarily, this will include setting personal growth goals in matters concerning your spirit, soul, and body.
For example, how is your current state of emotions as you read this article, and how do you want them to be in the future? If this sounds like a subject you want to dive deep into, let’s keep sailing and see what we get on the other side.
Personal Growth and its Relation to Psychology
Self-development is a synonym for personal growth, which involves physical, emotional, mental, social, and spiritual growth. On the other hand, psychology is the study of mind and behavior, helping to explain how our mind works to affect our behaviors.
The known different types of psychology are cognitive, social, forensic, and developmental psychology. While most people set their personal growth goals towards external things, the most worthwhile goals for personal growth focus on a mind shift toward happiness and contentment.
Let’s face it, having more money in your bank account and driving your dream car is good, but these successes do not necessarily translate into a happy and fulfilled life. Fundamentally, anyone aiming for peak personal growth should focus on building themselves on the inside to respond better to the outside world.
However, this shouldn’t be misconstrued to mean that we are negating any other articles on this blog about external achievements. A case we may use here for a personal growth example is someone with low-self esteem.
Low self-esteem doesn’t translate into peak performance. This calls for one to be honest about what is affecting them and how they can fix it. An idea here is to work with or seek the coaching services of a teacher or life coach to enable you to overcome your challenge.
The other way to look at it is personal growth helps you meet your psychological needs. For some, psychological growth will mean they experience higher levels of freedom to pursue their interests and leave the life they want.
Some are looking to build their capacities to do new things. Others want to experience more profound meaning in life. The truth is that every human being has been growing psychologically and personally in one way or another.
Primarily, most struggle to get hold of their basic needs, but there are also aspirations for higher social achievements. However, rather than this personal growth process taking place consciously, it has been experienced more subconsciously due to the uncertainties of life experiences.
As other subject matter experts highlight, developing our personalities requires a more conscious effort toward understanding our personalities and how they can be altered.
The Different Stages of Personal Growth
To achieve their goals for personal growth, an understanding of the different stages of personal growth is essential. Below are the four levels involved in self-growth or personal development.
- Social accomplishment
- Psychological growth
- Spiritual progress &
Let’s break these four stages of personal growth down a bit.
The basis for these levels of personal growth in human beings is because of their multi-dimensional and complex personalities. Everyone will undergo these four levels at one point in their life, whether through a spiritual experience, a worth-it psychological effort, or a social accomplishment.
1. Higher Social Accomplishment
How do you survive as an individual? How effectively do you relate with others, and how do you rate your success in achieving societal expectations that help you realize your personal growth goals? Some goals for personal growth to mention include
- Being financially self-sufficient
- Gaining a higher social status
- Establishing a family or
- Acquiring education
Living at the peak of the elements mentioned above will mean that you have nipped your social accomplishment problems in the bud.
However, living at such a peak comes at a cost you will have to pay through different stages of your life experience. For example, social accomplishment can come through greater knowledge and skill acquired through education or training.
Your personality needs to develop to experience high levels of social achievement, which calls for great personal effort. Through great individual effort, some things you can accomplish are not limited to the personal growth examples listed below.
- Knowledge expansion
- Building our physical and mental skills
Through such endeavors, individuals maximize their personality by using their developed capacities for higher social accomplishment.
At this point, it’s vital to mention that the development of an individual’s personality borders more on psychological growth. Most individuals realize higher levels of social accomplishment through training, education, or conscious effort, and these will be enhanced by:
- Acquiring excellent knowledge of all types
- Being efficient in the organization of your life and work
- Having great interpersonal and physical skills
- Having great expressibility in your physical, social, and organizational values in your actions
- Releasing high physical energy when responding to opportunities and challenges.
2. Psychological Growth
The second stage of personal growth is more about psychological growth. While the first level deals with external behavior, the second stage mainly deals with psychological changes affecting our attitudes and values.
Psychological growth builds our personalities which helps support a higher social accomplishment. Strictly speaking, psychological growth is the qualitative change in the nature of an individual’s personality via conscious intent and effort.
Psychological growth helps you be more enlightened, putting you at a vantage point to express higher values, thus becoming a valuable contributor to the wellbeing and welfare of society.
Marks of a Person Experiencing Psychological Growth
- You radiate positivity: you act graciously and generously towards people, you are not jealous of other people’s achievements, you react less to people and avoid putting yourself in a superior position than others,
- You aspire for higher accomplishments: Acceptance and recognition by those around you don’t sound appealing to you anymore. You want to live for something more than just survival or social acceptance.
- You live for higher levels: This is marked by harmonious relationships, more objective thoughts, acts of honesty, and more truthful words.
- You are more self-reliant: You depend more on yourself than waiting for help from others.
- You make decisions based on your understanding and not impulses: Your decisions are no longer based on feeling or convenience but on what is right. You reflect more on yourself to understand better who you are. You also reflect on other’s people behavior to get their point of view and tolerate differences in opinion.
- You are more responsible: You are in charge of your work and the people around you instead of expecting people to do things for you.
- You exhibit higher standards: You don’t fall for social approvals or good status. You strive for more than acceptance.
If you are consciously making these efforts, you are on a journey towards psychological growth. The changes are pretty difficult to achieve and make permanent, but they lead to the actual growth of your personality.
3. Spiritual Progress
While skeptics may hold a contrary opinion, the standard agreement is there exists a spiritual dimension to all existence. Spiritual experiences are not the same and vary from one individual to another.
These experiences vary in form, experience, depth, direction, permanency, and intensity. Spirituality is quite a broad subject; thus, we shall only focus on a narrow segment of it which locks out other experiences people perceive as spiritual.
These include occult powers, subtle forces that influence our lives, visions, voices, and subtle sounds.
Spirituality is about experiencing higher levels of consciousness that are associated with commonly spiritual qualities such as peace, patience, harmony, silence, self-giving, freedom, equality, and compassion, among others.
Marks of a Person Experiencing Spiritual Growth
- Patience and tolerance: You exhibit high levels of these qualities
- Goodwill: You are not in competition with others nor harbor feelings of jealousy or resentment but rejoicing
- Knowledge: You understand the meaning or significance of the experience you go through. You know how to grow or outlive the need for them.
- Peace: You are calm and peaceful amidst an intense activity or with other people.
- Equality: You react less to disturbing events and embrace greater equanimity.
- Self-giving: You aspire for other people’s fulfillment rather than yours. You identify more with other people.
- Silence: Your mind becomes settled and experiences periods of complete stillness.
In our quest to know and understand what personal growth is, we finally arrive at the fourth stage of the process referred to as transformation.
While spiritual progression has numerous benefits – personal fulfillment, positive personal relations, increase in our capacity for personal accomplishment, inner strength, and security it rarely alters the substance of our personality.
Both Western psychologists and eastern spiritual traditionalists agree on this fact. Western psychologists argue that the human character is inherited and fixed and therefore can’t be changed.
Similarly, Eastern spiritual traditionalists believe that the soul remains unchanged through the experience of birth known as Swarupa, where it remains the same in its entire lifetime. Here is the source of knowledge behind the term Karma the Hindus commonly refer to.
Transformation involves inborn capacity levels that you can’t change solely through conscious individual effort. These levels include
- Strength of Personality: Here, the argument is that we each have different characteristic levels of intensity different from our vital and mental energies. This intensity can change or influence the people we relate to and the environment we live in. You will hear of such terms as a ‘towering personality.’
- Depth of Personality: To understand the depth of personality, you need an understanding of the stages involved in personality transformation, which follows a given order. Manners – Behaviour – Character – Personality – individuality. Individuals with a depth of personality can be said to achieve a level where their inner feeling is in harmony with their external manners. There are also those individuals that have formed a character of a higher accomplishment. Still, some individuals exhibit a level of personality and individuality that transcends societal limitations and their own upbringing.
- Mental, vital, and Physical Consciousness: These refer to the three different levels of consciousness in human beings. From these centers of consciousness, one can be described as
- A courageous patriot
- A thinker
- A man of action
- An organizer
- A loyal follower
- A leader of the people
Every human being strives to achieve higher levels of consciousness; however, except by spiritual change, one cannot alter the balance of these three elements in their personality.
This helps explain why one individual can amass wealth but lacks perceptive thinking exhibited by another individual.
You could be well-educated and trained but lack emotional depth or intellectual acuity shown by another individual.
Personal Growth Examples: Self Growth Spheres
The human mind is wired to think linearly. Move from point A to B, then to C, keep following that line. However, this cannot be practical because we are complex and multidimensional by nature.
We can’t reduce our lives to a single dimension. When we shift from a single dimension to a three small dimension object in space, for example, you can visualize your life developing into a full-blown sphere.
Look at the small multidimensional object like your undeveloped or limited thoughts, unrealized power or capacity, or limited knowledge. On the flip side, the sphere is the side of these things developed. Infinite joy, capacity, power, and wisdom.
Choosing to travel in one direction brings you to the end of the road or instead at the end of a line; however, making progress in multiple directions sets you on a path towards the end of a universal sphere.
Whether you choose to carry out your multidimensional progress simultaneously or successively is up to you.
Personal Growth is deeply ingrained in our lives whether you choose to pay attention to it or not. Not only does it focus on the superficial qualities of our lives, but it has a deep relation with our psychology.
There are four levels of personal growth that can enable you to achieve your personal growth goals. From them, you can assess your position in the self-growth journey relative to your past and the future.
These levels though distinguished, are interdependent and helpful in tracking your personal growth.
We can all conclude that working on ourselves is not easy and takes a great deal of time. But the sooner you start the journey and be intentional about it, the better for you. With the right strategy and coaching, real change is possible.