5 Principles of Personal Growth to Absorb Right Now

we must die to one life

[This is Part 2 or a 3 Part series.]

If any of the 11 signs of personal growth described in my first post resonated with you, or if you agree that we’re undergoing something major and world-shifting and if you’re feeling ready to take one step forward, I’d invite you to start by bringing your awareness to and absorbing these five principles.

I can almost guarantee you that without understanding and fully embracing these principles, your own journey will be slower, punctuated by more pain and self-doubt and peppered with more challenges.

Trust me, I would know.

But embracing these principles of life and personal growth can lift the heaviness of where we are from our shoulders and create an environment of peace and even excitement in our lives. It can shift us from overwhelm or apathy to clarity, acceptance and motivation.

Here they are, pretty much in the order of importance.

1. You are not wrong, broken, bad, or crazy.

It’s so tempting to use those words to describe ourselves. After all, conventional wisdom tells us if we’re feeling happy one moment and sad the next, if we can’t stop crying, or if we suddenly desire something more than what we’re accustomed to that we’re either bi-polar, depressed or experiencing a mid-life crisis.

I say screw them.

You are not wrong, broken, bad or crazy. You are human. You are diverse, sometimes messy and constantly evolving. You experience life deeply and it moves you in sometimes uncomfortable, but always opportunistic, ways.

All of this is good! And don’t for one minute think it’s not, for all of this is exactly what has been experienced by the great movers and shakers of the world, the creatives, the philosopher’s, the leaders and the world changers. They just didn’t had the burden of judgment or expectation like we do today.

2. Everyone does the best they can with the tools they have.

If you or someone else is not doing their personal best or the best you think is possible, it means you/they either lack the necessary tools or something else is getting in your/their way.

Understanding this gives us the ability to view ourselves and others with compassion and patience. It also begs to ask what we can do to help.

Life isn’t a sprint for everyone. We’re all going to move at our own pace. Treating yourself and others with gentle compassion and trust is the only way to ensure we’ll all keep growing. Judgment, guilt, fear, impatience…they are surefire ways to shut growth down.

Along with this principle is the fact that we are all looking and moving toward a greater good when we are fully authentic and feeling whole. We all ultimately and truly want what is best for everyone, even if we don’t know or are confused on how to get it.

If you’re struggling with personal growth, keep this one in mind and seek out new tools or self-awareness to get yourself unstuck.

3. There is no such thing as a lost opportunity.

Life is cyclical. Things always come back around.

If you feel as though you (or someone else) missed an opportunity, or maybe you just don’t feel ready for it, you can rest assured it will make its way back to you.

Be careful pushing things aside for later though; sometimes it’s harder to accomplish the second time than if you embrace the opportunity the first time around.

Instead, I’d recommend trusting that there are no mistakes and that the timing is perfect, even if not from our limited perspective.

4. The bigger your game, the bigger the obstacles.

Who here has ever been onto something really, really juicy and suddenly been blindsided by a string of bad luck, innumerable challenges or some serious self-sabotaging? (*raising hand*)

It can feel like everything is going wrong. It can feel like the cards are stacked against you. And you can begin to question what you’re doing – is it the right thing to do or am I the right person for the job?

Often times this looks like chaos, until we can be still and clearly see what it is: It’s not life or fate conspiring against us. It’s not bad luck. It’s just our own junk finally demanding face time.

Every time you’re about to experience a serious breakthrough, everything that does not serve you or will not serve you in the future, every old story you’ve told yourself, every fear that has held you back, every personal challenge you’ve ever had and never dealt with will suddenly surface.


Because they have no place in what you’re trying to create and in order to move forward into your future, you’ll have to spend some time with each of the things that has been holding you back.

Without giving them their face time, you won’t be able to leave them behind and without leaving them behind, you won’t move forward.

You can think of it a little like life testing your resolve. Or you can think of it as a spring cleaning of your soul to prepare you for the summer of your life.

Whatever image resonates with you, get ready to bring you’re A-game. Cuz it’s on.

5. This Too Shall Pass – If You Allow It

I don’t only mean if you allow it to pass, although not holding onto discord, drama or pain out of comfort or fear of change is important too.

What I really mean, though, is that you must allow yourself to be in this uncomfortable place for it to finally and fully come to pass. Resisting where you are or what you feel just postpones the process, and since life is cyclical (as described above), it will come back around.

This is the paradox of personal growth: Only by embracing What Is (the reality, the emotions, the everything) exactly as it is – with radical acceptance and without expectations of change – can it finally let us go.

You’ve got to be with it to be without it.

Sit with the sadness, the anger, the memories, the questions. Call them out and acknowledge them fully. Spend some time swimming in it. Without pointing fingers (at yourself or anyone else), just dwell in your experience. Allow it all to bubble out until there is finally nothing left to bubble and it detaches itself from you and you can experience the weightlessness left in its place.

By allowing it, it detaches itself from you and you from it. Then it becomes something that simply is, that has no power over you, and you can look at it with gratitude or compassion but no longer with pain or discomfort.

Included in this principle is a message of patience. As much as we’d like to, we simply cannot rush the process.

Deep breath. You’ll soon be glad you couldn’t.

Join the conversation:
Which of these principles is hardest for you to absorb?

Part One: 11 Signs Your Life Is Demanding Personal Growth (And It’s Time To Listen)

Part Three: 8 Ways to Make Personal Growth Happen

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27 Comments. Leave new

Right now, my challenge is “the bigger your game, the bigger the obstacle.” I guess I kinda just forgot about that… oops. I’m planning something huge (wrote a screenplay for my first — well, really second — short film. AND got a spot on kickstarter to fund it, but haven’t put it up yet) and then WHAM one obstacle after another (and I just keep putting off shooting the intro video for kickstarter, which is actually the EASIEST part of the whole thing, but I don’t want to put on makeup and deal with asking for money… hmmm…)

And so I have noticed that some of my old stories are surfacing (OMG, I’m such a flake, I have all these great ideas and just don’t do anything with them!! etc…) but, the weird thing is, I am not letting those stories win. I’m being with where I am, and waiting… and I know I will follow through on this, because I feel very strongly pulled towards it. But maybe I haven’t made the right connections yet. Or maybe I just need to push through. Still, I have faith. That’s a lot.

March 22, 2011 11:07 am

The solution is rarely what you haven’t done yet (like making the right connections)….the real solution is generally finding what it is *personally* that is stopping you from doing it. :)

i like the last one

March 22, 2011 11:08 am

Yes, it’s generally the one I need to be reminded of the most. :)

11 Signs Your Life Is Demanding Personal Growth (And It’s Time To Listen) – TheOrganicSister
March 22, 2011 11:06 am

[…] Part Two: 5 Principles of Personal Growth to Absorb Right Now […]

The principle most difficult for me to absorb in number 3. There is no such thing as a lost opportunity.
I guess when you are young, you can think this way. But there are a lot of things that become much more difficult to do as you age. I’m not saying there aren’t some things that can be given another chance, but sometimes opportunity only knocks once. I think we need to be awake to our surroundings and alert to our situation to be able to notice when an opportunity presents itself. Now, this doesn’t mean one cannot do something different or even better. It doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It just seems to me that knowing yourself and yours present finances, abilities, desires, etc. make it WAY easier to notice an opportunity when it arises. LOVE personal growth. Seems like there are a lot of distractions to growing up these days.

March 22, 2011 8:29 pm

I understand what you’re saying. But I think we’re talking about two different things.

I’m not talking about physical opportunities (like particular friends, business ventures, chances to travel, etc). I’m talking about opportunities for *personal growth*. Those will ALWAYS come back around, over and over until we accept them and learn from them.

The way the opportunity looks won’t be the same. And as I said and you said, it will get harder. But it will come back around.

In fact I think the only time it doesn’t is when we’re simply not open to them yet.

gosh it’s hard to pick lol. i think 4 and 5 are competing for first place in me.

Number 5 I think has been the most valuable for me. It’s funny, it’s like my 20’s was “why is this happening to me”, my 30’s was “wow this is really happening to me” and now as I am embarking on 40’s, “just go with what is happening” seems to be the most fitting. I am really loving this series :).

Mine is #1 You are not wrong, broken, bad, or crazy.

I have had a really tough last 12 months. I can’t seem to move forward, around, under or over the events that have brought me to this point. I’m stuck. It’s amazing how one persons opinion of you can derail eveything you thought you knew. Now I question EVERYTHING I think, say or do. Constantly, in some way or another, I am thinking I am wrong, I am broken, that was bad or I think I might be crazy!

March 23, 2011 11:26 am

So want to give you a hug right now.

Let me assure you, you are not broken or crazy. You are growing and healing, maybe. But at your core you are whole and beautiful and needing to remember that.

The last one is the hardest for me to absorb. All of this resonates with me so much right now. Life on the road brings you face to face with yourself, and there’s no running. I can really feel something big is happening, but getting through the muck is so hard.

March 22, 2011 8:30 pm

Um, yes. I agree. (About the face to face thing.) :)

Thank you for this. I needed this today. I feel in a very low place. That I am trying to be with it. And yet there are these moments of wanting to run, to fix, to get answers, and it is so hard just to stay in this place. It is hard to see the world and the moment. I want to get back to trusting that all will be well. So I thank you for this post. It helps to read this right now.

March 22, 2011 8:30 pm

(((hugs))) Sending you much love right now.

At first, I was really surprised at how much this resembles grief. Since my husband died 9 months ago, I’ve been in grief counseling and a grief support group. Much of what you’re saying is exactly what I’ve been hearing. But, that makes sense. There’s never been a time for me that has required/demanded so much personal growth.

#5 is the hardest for me. But it’s what I’m being taught, that the way out of grief is through it.

March 22, 2011 9:09 pm

First, big giant fat (((hugs))) to you.

I hadn’t drawn that correlation between grief and personal growth before, but it does make sense. Any transition is a letting go of the past to move into our future. And many times that can come with grief. And, of course, nothing requires more from us than the loss of someone we so intensely love.

Much love to you.

Exactly what I needed right now « Spunkyness
March 22, 2011 9:30 pm

[…] read something on my Google Reader first. I realized that I had opened the following blog post from TheOrganicSister earlier today, but didn’t get a chance to read it. So I just read it. And, wow. This post is […]

Wow. This post was amazing. I hope you don’t mind (I probably should have asked first!), but I reposted this post on my blog because it resonated so very much with me that I felt the strongest desire to share it! Thank you so much, I really needed this post.

March 23, 2011 11:29 am

Thanks Jamie, for sharing the love. :)

I am a new reader of your blog, starting with the Jan 1 post. Its like you are inside my head, saying what I need to hear for this season in my life. Thank you.

I cannot begin to express my gratitude to you for writing this series. I’m at a point in my life where I feel that my personal growth has stalled and I want so desperately to pour some fertilizer on myself to get growing again.
However, I can’t get past #1. From the outside, I have everything, a great job, a loving husband, a perfect little family. On the inside, I’m bored to tears. I’ve given up on living my life the way I want to in order to create the nuclear family I’m supposed to want. I feel as if everyone else in my life will think I’m nuts for wanting more, wanting things to change, dropping everything to explore LIFE! I want a less conventional life, yet my husband if perfectly content (complacent) with what we have now… I’m struggling with being my authentic self instead of who others expect me to be. Keep it coming sister, you’re helping me more than you know! :)

March 23, 2011 11:30 am

I hear you. We all need that at times. I hope my next post on this topic will be super helpful to you. Much love, beautiful one.

Oh my gosh, Tara – I LOVE this series. This post was awesome and hit me right where I am for sure – especially the part about living in something until it detaches itself from you – I have been working through this for a few days now – gotta do it!

March 23, 2011 11:31 am

You are doing it. :)

8 Ways to Make Personal Growth Happen – TheOrganicSister
March 29, 2011 8:27 am

[…] we identified 11 signs life might be demanding personal growth and we established the 5 principles (of life, really) you must know before you […]

Love, love and love. That is all. :)

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