8 Ways to Nurture and Allow Personal Growth to Happen

more clearly ourselves

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

I can’t offer you a panacea here. What I can offer you are the things I know that create success in our own journey of self-discovery, the realization of our dreams, and the movement through our challenges.

  1. Create space.You might call this stillness or white space or solitude. Whatever term resonates with you, creating plenty of undisturbed time to work through and process your personal growth (or just sit in or with it) is crucial.You simply cannot grow through distraction.

    Take yourself to the library for several hours a few times a week, head to a coffee shop, wake up before the rest of the house or go to bed later. Do not be tempted to take along something to do (especially a task you feel “needs to be done”); this is time to feel, to think to yourself, not to cross items off your To Do list. (Note to self: Avoid the internet.)

    But feel free to take a journal, a book that has been calling your name or some peaceful music. These tools will allow you to dig deeper or just sit and Be with yourself in new ways.


  2. Be patient.Growth also takes time. It can feel painstakingly slow or even stalled (sometimes it might actually stall, too). Along with being gentle, you also need to treat yourself with patience.

    Don’t beat yourself for making mistakes or moving too slowly or whatever else you might be feeling toward your own progress. Don’t judge yourself by someone else’s measure.

    And don’t forget that great strides almost always follow times of stillness.

    Life – and thus growth – is not a sprint. Feel good about slowing down.

  3. Be gentle with yourself.Growth takes energy and stamina. There will be times when it overwhelms you or frustrates you, when you feel as though you’re making no progress or making things worse.

    Be gentle with yourself during these times. Take stock of the big picture and remind yourself of the huge task of healing, recovery and growth you’re undergoing.

    Take yourself and your life seriously, treat yourself with compassion and care, use kind words to describe where you are and don’t belittle yourself, where you are or what you’re experiencing to anyone. Especially you.

  4. Stay open to the possibilities.Assumptions have no place here. You may or may not feel as though your life is taking a particular direction, and whatever you’re feeling, that’s okay.

    Remain open to new people, new ideas and new tools for personal growth. Also remain open to the fact that it all might change or totally surprise you.

    Trust it. Open yourself to the idea that you are a wise and wonderful person and your intuition – that tiny little voice or thought that won’t stop – is trying to tell you exactly what you need to know. (Or maybe just what you need to know first.)

  5. Acknowledge without guilt. Speak truth without blame.This is a biggie. And also a toughie.

    If feelings of guilt, anger or resentment over your past or present circumstances begin to rise to the surface, you need to acknowledge them. You need to deeply feel these emotions, being with them and allowing them to teach you.

    You need to surrender to them so they can surrender their grip on you.

    But please remember these are your feelings based on your perspectives. No one else needs them; they belong to no one else.

    Bringing anger or resentment to a conversation, or dwelling on guilt, does nothing but tear down the possibility for healing. These negative emotions breed with the insecurity, guilt or resentment of others and create more of the same.

    There may be a time to have these conversations, but only after the emotions have released us and we can speak with compassion, understanding and strength. If you can’t do that, it’s not time to have the conversation.

  6. Receive support.We have a funky belief in our society that it’s better to give than to receive.False, false, false!

    Just looking at this logically can show us that someone has to receive so that someone else can enjoy the gift of giving.

    Giving and receiving are two sides of the same coin: Equal and important gifts to ourselves and others.

    Allowing ourselves to receive connects us deeply to one another. It gives others the opportunity to make a difference, to remember their own importance and to practice generosity.

    And it feeds us, fills us up. Receiving gives us the ability to give freely to others. It creates an environment of generosity and compassion.

    So receive! But ask carefully. Know the limits and boundaries of others and ask for help from those in a place to give. Different people will be capable of supporting you in different ways, so be okay with that.

  7. Trust, trust, trust.Lean into the process. Lean into love. Lean into life and growth and expansion.

    Trust the people you turn to for support. Trust yourself. Trust what you feel you need, even if it feels counterproductive.

    Trust your authenticity. Trust that you were created for a purpose. Trust that there are no mistakes…least of which, you.

    Trust that darkness is only the absence of light. And trust your ability and courage to let your own light shine.

  8. Begin digging deep.This is what I call my process of uncovering the things that are holding me back, understanding my fears and my blocks and moving through them.

    It’s also the name of my e-book and audiobook, Digging Deep: A Toolbox and Workbook for Personal Growth.

    I’m super excited (and nervous) to share it with you. It is the heart and soul of Who I Am and what I do. It’s been my journey and my key to success and I’m pouring everything I have into making this a reality.

    You can learn more about it here: Digging Deep: A Toolbox and Workbook for Personal Growth.

What do you want to know?

I said I could easily do more than 3 posts on this topic. And I can. But the subject is vast and it’s hard to know where to take it.

So, tell me…what are your questions? What do you want to know about personal growth? Ask me anything in the comments below (or via email) and I’ll offer what I have.

Part One: 11 Signs Your Life is Demanding Personal Growth

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

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22 Comments. Leave new

i too am excited about ur new ebook – this journey ur own (heck, so many of us are on right now) is outstandingly exciting and rich and scary and REAL – glad to be a fellow traveler.

March 29, 2011 9:27 am

Thanks Deb. :)

Jeanie Butera
March 29, 2011 8:59 am

I am really excited about it too, and it could not come at a better time. I am in the midst of all my past emotional stress hitting me all at once, and its been a rough road to say the least. The one thing I really need and want to learn is how to let go of anger over things I cant control, and letting go of past hurts that are still haunting me. I want to feel free of all that. :)

March 29, 2011 9:30 am

Jeanie, this is exactly what my new e-book is about. Finding freedom comes through a process of revelation, understanding and reconstructing. It’s a lot of info and the actual process can be long and methodical…it can also be fast and breathlessly liberating!

I can’t wait to get you a copy. I think it will be just what you need.

Bethany Taylor
March 29, 2011 1:17 pm

I think a 9th way to make personal growth happen could read, “Get started. T.O.D.A.Y.” In my own journey I have gone through the steps, realized the signs that I need to grow more, dreamed about the possibilities, and then done nothing. Nothing. Big ugly NOTHING. Sometimes we all need a little motivation after the inspiration to get up and get going! =) Its time to live, time to grow, and you might even have to start even before you think you have everything figured out. =)

March 30, 2011 8:52 pm

Yes! Most definitely, revelation or dream not coupled with action means very little.

But sometimes it’s not necessarily motivation we need; it’s discovering what is holding us back.

Precious Tara, you continue to blow me away with your insight, your intuition and your beautiful words. I feel blessed to know you. Victoria

I agree with so much of what you’ve said, especially the part about being gentle with yourself. Also I love that quote!

O.k. hmmm. So where do I begin? It’s come to a point, where I am realizing, like you, that we are seeing this all around us… people we are around or suddenly having discussions of “now what?” or “what else is there in this life?” And why is that? Is it the age – the I’ve birthed my final time, now what? My kids are growing and going forth – what about me? The realization now is that we live for our children? I’m not sure. But there is a stirring going on – and it definitely has commonalities.
So, really… now what?
I live in a boring suburb of philadelphia… a case of if-I-knew-then-what-I-know-now… who cares about the stinking school district in which my house sits? I’m home/unschooling.
Can’t afford to move now – we’re on one income – how unheard of!!!
My husband is dissatisfied with his career (teaching highschool) – seeing the world of unschooling and then the clash of his employment, is really throwing him for a loop. The system is SO exposed now and the establishment of the meat grinding and production operation is making him ill… like, mentally and emotionally ill. So, now – on top of the boring suburban local, I am now living with someone who is just miserable – and mean. Cause, you can’t be miserable alone, you know.
Wow. What am I doing now? I am speaking truth with loads of blame. That sucks.
Seriously, Tara – I know you don’t have the answers and that what you are offering here are stepping stones… and I am reading them carefully, but without my own Delorean (sp?) – I just don’t know which way to turn on this round-a-bout… you see how I am trying to avoid writing “dead end.” This is the irony of living on a stinking cul-de-sac.
How does one grow when those closest to them is dragging their face in the mud…and insists on making everyone else drag along with them? Does this make sense?

March 30, 2011 8:57 pm

(((hugs))) I recognize where you are….that slightly chaotic, anxious, frustrated feeling of wanting to move but feeling stuck.

I have so many thoughts here but I’m not sure they are what you need. So, let me ask you…if you take a deep breath and connect to a small piece of stillness, then ask yourself “What do I need?” what is your most resounding answer?

The thing about life coaching or any type of coaching or mentoring is that the person doing the coaching (or in this case, writing) isn’t the one with the answers. They are just the one that can remind you that you have the answers. We all need support, inter-connectedness in our worlds…connections with others that allow us to connect to ourselves.

Start with the question above. If you need more support, lean into someone you trust. And if you don’t feel like you have a person in your life that can provide that, I’d be honored to.

As I read this I feel like weeping. Finally someone ‘gets it.’ I am going to take the parts of this that apply the most to me along with me to my next mentor meeting. I’m feeling breakthroughs on the horizon.

March 31, 2011 1:27 pm

(((hugs))) to you.

once again, so right on. i couldn’t agree more with the idea of “without blame” being such a biggie. something i’ve been working hard on. number4 reminder to stay open- is big for me right in the here and now… big things and changes happening for me, and i am really trying to stay mindful that the world is bigger than i can picture, there are possibilities i haven’t even envisioned yet, and that the universe always seems to have something in store for me i couldn’t possibly have imagined. i still have to slog through all this leg work and work to “figure things out” but having the trust in that, and being open is my work right now, too.

March 31, 2011 1:32 pm

“there are possibilities i haven’t even envisioned yet, and that the universe always seems to have something in store for me i couldn’t possibly have imagined.”


write that down, mb. seriously. and lean into it, daily. there is so much resounding truth in your words and your wisdom. remember them.

What about navigating relationships when one partner is going through a time of growth and introspection, and the other may not be at that time? The need for solitude and alone time does not reflect on the other person, but it can also be hard to explain what you are going through in that moment.

April 1, 2011 10:05 am

Oh, this is such a good question and such a challenging thing to navigate. The practical what-to kinda depends…are you the person in need of solitude and growth or is it your partner?

I’m in this place too. I’m in need of the solitude and growth and DH is not.

Ah, Tara,
I sit here in my afternoon exhaustion… wanting to do so much, out there, but knowing that I just dont have the energy to do it.
And allowing the words that stuck a chord with me bring tears to my eyes, and my body, as it shifts in the flows of opening….
I have been having some major breakthrus recently. Loving myself for the first time in over 15 years, na, probably ever… and I am finding the energy from that to love my partner more and my family. and I love that.
Sitting with the silence, and trusting that the love bursting from my heart is real, and is mine and is universal and is profound. Fck, this is an amazing space to be in!
And I go back to my exhaustion and just trust that it is ok.
love Elliecan and will and will continue to

11 Signs Your Life Is Demanding Personal Growth (And It’s Time To Listen) – TheOrganicSister
April 14, 2011 8:57 pm

[…] Part Three: 8 Ways to Make Personal Growth Happen […]

5 Principles of Personal Growth to Absorb Right Now – TheOrganicSister
April 14, 2011 9:01 pm

[…] Part Three: 8 Ways to Make Personal Growth Happen […]

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April 16, 2011 8:08 pm

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Kristin Noelle
September 3, 2011 8:37 am

Oh, I love this. Number 7 feels like the doorway into ALL of these…and also such a big challenge for most of us. I’m giving my whole life to trying to figure out how to tend trust, and my report so far: totally worth it!!

Happy to have found you and comforted knowing you’re doing what you are in the world!

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