Embracing the Shadows for Self-Growth: How to Overcome Challenges to Achieve Personal Growth

Self-growth takes work. In life, we often get stuck trying to solve the wrong problems. Nine times out of ten, what we think is the problem is not actually the problem. But it can take time to identify the right problem that needs to be solved. Our brain never goes to the actual problem first. It defaults to the problem it believes it can solve rather than the root cause, preventing personal growth.

Areas of growth are in the shadow, not the light.

Growth work is always done in the shadow rather than in our area of strength. The shadow is where we aren’t as strong. This is why it’s essential to seek help from others and brainstorm with someone who can guide us toward the right problem and help us devise a plan for addressing it. It’s not easy to identify the root cause of an issue. However, by getting out of our own heads and seeking outside perspectives, we can gain a clearer understanding of what the real problem is.

Self-growth is restricted by our behaviors.

Often our behaviors, rather than tactics, prevent personal growth. As we work towards actual development and learning, it’s natural to feel a range of emotions surface, including discomfort. This sign tells us we’re on the right path. True self-growth often requires us to push ourselves out of our comfort zone. For your future self to appear, today’s self has to die – and dying is painful.

We must be aware of our emotions and reactions and take responsibility for them. We may be conditioned to do certain things, but it’s up to us to recognize and address any unhealthy patterns or behaviors. And when it comes to proof, it’s important to remember that others’ unhealthy needs for validation are their own responsibility. We don’t have to provide proof to appease them.

The path to personal growth requires effort.

As we work towards becoming our best selves, it’s important to remember that growth and self-improvement require effort and discomfort. We must know what areas of growth we must work toward to find the root problems. We can emerge stronger and more resilient by leaning into the shadows and facing the hard truths and challenges head-on. This sets us up for success and growth in the future. The key is to be open to self-growth: embrace discomfort and trust the process. 

Planning for self-growth in 2023

So much of our suffering comes from thinking we can control or are responsible for how we “make” others feel. Be aware of what side an emotional response lives on. Are you trying to solve a response that’s truly on your side, or is it on the other party’s side? When choosing your word for 2023, it’s not the right word if you’re not uncomfortable, if it doesn’t scare the heck out of you. Your word choice for 2023 is imperative to enhance personal growth, but your word has to be in the shadow.

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