As if occurring on some regularly timed schedule, every few years I find myself deeply questioning most of what I thought I knew about myself and life, for what seems like the millionth time.
I thought I had already sorted through my personal drama, navigated the complicated layers of my emotions and settled on a big life change. So how did I wind up back here again, doubting everything?
Personal transformation can be a lonely, desperate place at first. It comes unexpectedly and gradually, all at the same time. The roots of your personal change have been planted for some time, but in all the commotion, you’ve failed to see the beauty unravelling within.
Sometimes it takes a major life shift, whether forced upon us or chosen, to bring about personal growth. But it is the attitudes and actions we adopt at this influential time that lead to true transformation.
So how do you know when you’re going through a personal growth transformation—one that, despite the tough times, will leave your soul evolved? What can you do to nurture this transformation and use it to propel yourself forward in the world?
As someone who has shaken up my life multiple times in relation to personal growth, leaving jobs to stick to my principles and moving across the world, I have grown to recognize the following clues. Together, they signify that you are on your way to exactly who you are meant to be.
5 signs of personal growth transformation
You’re confused about your life choices
One of the first signs of personal growth doesn’t feel like growth at all. It feels utterly confusing, as you find yourself questioning your biggest life choices, fearing they have led you astray.
This may look like seriously doubting your career path, a relationship, or the direction of your future; which, to the outsider’s eye, all seem perfectly fine. To you, it feels paralyzing and even obsessive, like something is missing. There is a secret key to your fulfillment that you can’t yet describe.
Awareness of the place you want to grow from is a critical first step. Maybe you now realize that you want or need something different for your life, an insight that you only gained through your personal journey so far. It doesn’t mean you have been mistaken in your life choices, since in fact, they have led you to this pivotal moment.
Embrace the confusion of this early phase. Seek to understand what your inner voice is telling you and re-evaluate your goals. It may not feel right to take action right now, but buried within your confusion are the clues you will need to move forward.
Your current reality feels too small
If you regularly feel an inexplicable sense of being stuck or suffocated in your daily life, this is a surefire sign you have become too big for it. Are you living up to your potential day-to-day, or do you have a nagging sense that you should be doing more with your life? It is important that this “should” comes from a deep desire within, even if you can’t pinpoint it, not the expectations of others.
Maybe you have outgrown a job or a relationship. I have discovered a mix of frustration and quiet empowerment during this phase of personal growth, a strange discontent with daily life alongside hope for the future. A key difference is not simply feeling unhappy or angry about the conditions that surround me, but feeling a sense of duty to take control of my life, to live up to my truest self.
You’re uncomfortable and afraid
Now comes the unravelling of fear and anticipation, as you know you will need to make some changes in your life. You understand that your growth will require being willing to let go of control and start taking some risks. You will soon be asked to give up a part of your identity that you have outgrown. While you don’t feel quite ready, you are excited about this prospect.
Maybe you see friction appearing in your friendships, the institutions or even the culture you find yourself in. It feels like they’re boxing you in, like they’re potentially toxic to your growth. They can’t possibly understand or adhere to the true depths of your soul, can they? You wonder where you will find the kind of support you crave to become the fullest version of yourself.
You’re inspired and dreaming big
Mixed in with your discomfort and fear is a healthy dose of inspiration that stems from within. Suddenly you want to read more, learn more, grow more. You begin engaging with the sources of inspiration available all around you, from books to a well-informed friend, podcast or course.
The possibilities to engage your deepest interests suddenly seem unlimited. You grow increasingly excited as you embrace the abundance of new information that is valuable to your growth.
Your mind is moving too fast, and your ideas keep you up at night. Your brain and heart are processing life-changing concepts and making connections as you sleep. They may startle you awake, and keep you up to brainstorm how to apply this new information to your life.
During this phase, some of your fear gives way to a beautiful new vision for your future. You haven’t drawn it out clearly yet, but you begin to feel an undeniable pull in a certain direction.
You’re willing and able to take action
Having waded through your emotions at both ends of the spectrum, from despair to complete enthusiasm for the change unfolding within, a calm sense of purpose starts to settle over you. The voice of knowing inside you becomes louder, and new confidence emerges, despite the uncertainties of your future. It is like you are being safely guided along a newly discovered path that fills you with wonder.
Now is the time to set your dreams in motion, making a move in your career or lifestyle, or consciously reshaping your relationships (including your relationship with yourself). At this stage, you confront and accept your fears. You turn desires into actions, no longer making excuses, for you understand that to do so would be an injustice to yourself. Only when you act on your newfound understanding and faith will the magnitude of your personal growth shine through to the world.
For some, personal growth feels slow and constant, and for others, like me, it is sudden and cyclical. We have to feel the confusion and discomfort of staying where we are before we become ready to usher in all that can be.
If we are conscious enough to pay attention, we will be able to feel and embrace our own evolution, step-by-step. We will enjoy and trust in the mysterious journey, with each step revealing another piece of the puzzle that is our unique soul’s unfolding.
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