Personal Development, or self-progression, is the conscious decision to learn about ourselves and to integrate the learning and grow personally from it. It is said that life is a journey but given all the lessons we have to learn, life might also be the ultimate school, where we are ‘in tuition’ whether we want to be or not? Whatever our previous experiences, what we can all honestly say is that we are where we are now and starting from where you are is the best place to begin.
Personal development is a courageous pursuit. It is the ultimate journey into our own private inner worlds, where often we are afraid to go. Learning about ourselves and trying to upgrade and develop our areas for growth is hard work but it is truly an authentic path to take in life that can bring comforting rewards. Knowing yourself brings a new freedom and the best opportunity for wonderful peace of mind. To begin with, we might not have a clue where to look. To go within might sound strange at first and certainly to anyone new on the path of self-discovery, it might seem completely unfathomable.
Often the best way to begin to discover who we are is to recognise who we are not. Many lessons are learned in reverse and self-discovery is one of them. Initially, we can begin with questions about external things, such as ‘what do we like’, ‘where do we like to go’. And then progress inward and ask the deeper questions about who we are at our core and what things do we want to change about ourselves, that will forward us on to a calmer and happier experience of life.
Often it’s the lessons we have not learned that cause us difficulties in our lives. Lessons such as self-esteem, which no-one is born with and very few people understand how to develop it. Emotional development is really important too, since our emotions play a huge part on our perception, which in turn influences our behaviour. And then there are our thoughts. Thoughts have energy and we really need to learn how to manage them, especially as negative thoughts are sticky and positive thoughts are slippery, being able to monitor and structure our thoughts is important for our choices about the direction we would like our lives to take.
‘There are many ways up the mountain’, suggests Buddha, meaning that we each have to find the way that is right for us. Your way is your way. One of the smartest positions to take in any form of self development, reflection and progression, is to read, learn and listen to what everyone else has to say without taking offence, but then you and only you decide what you think is right, what you believe, how you wish to live your life and in what direction you want to go. It is a journey that you make to break free from all that is holding you back, working in opposition to your own psychological and physical health, which can only be done in your own way and importantly, in your own time.