8 signs you’re growing as a person (even if it doesn’t feel like it)

Tell me if you recognise this: You’re doing all the inner work. You’re trying your best to be the best version of yourself. 

Yet sometimes you wonder if you are really getting anywhere, especially when things go wrong.

Does this sound familiar? If so, read these signs that you really are growing as a person, despite the fact that it may not feel like it.

1) You’re becoming more resilient

It’s one of those days. Or even one of those months. Everything has gone wrong again, or so it feels.  And you wonder if you are back to square one. 

But growing as a person doesn’t mean that you won’t feel bad, or have tough times.  

The key is resilience

The American Psychological Association (2014) defines resilience as “the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or even significant sources of stress”.

In simple terms, I see resilience as your ability to:

 Acknowledge your situation with kindness

  • Allow yourself to feel any pain or discomfort  
  • Rest and recover
  • Get back up again
  • Start looking at new ways to approach your life or the situation

If you find yourself increasingly doing this then it’s a sign that you are more resilient. Remember though, there is no one set definition of resilience. 

Sometimes looking for new ways to approach things can involve seeing a counselor or therapist.  

Resilience is about growing your inner strength, but it doesn’t mean doing everything alone!

2) You take pleasure in other’s successes

There was a point in my life where I started to feel resentful of others’ success, feeling as though they were just born lucky or were given things I wasn’t.  

The fact is this: focusing on these things doesn’t help us, it harms us.  Regardless of our background or story. 

If you are able to feel happy when those around you succeed, you can share in their joy, which increases your joy!

You can also see their successes as something you can achieve too: if it happened for them, why not you?

This happy feeling warms your heart even when things are tough.

3) You practice gratitude

Another way to cultivate warmth within us, is practicing gratitude and compassion.  

Do you have a gratitude journal? Or maybe you just stop and take the time to be grateful for what you have? Perhaps you notice a beautiful flower or a sunset, and feel grateful that you are able to witness it.

Then that’s a great sign that you’re growing!

While it’s no secret to Buddhists that compassion is very important, neuroscience has also proven the benefits of gratitude.  

Here’s the thing: All these studies show that people with gratitude practices tend to be happier, healthier, lower anxiety and build better connections with other people.

If you have trouble with this, don’t worry. Just like feeling happy for others’ successes is something you can get better at, gratitude is a skill that you can cultivate by a short amount of practice each day.

4) You’re more aware of your shortcomings

Part of self-growth is (gently) realizing and accepting the parts of you that you may wish were different or better.

Perhaps you are an aspiring artist, and often find yourself holding back from your true capabilities.  When you look deeper, you realize that the fear of rejection is at the root.

This realization is a huge step, and if you are resilient too, then you might decide to enroll in a public speaking course or join an art collective for feedback, and embrace vulnerability.

As you conquer your fear and hone your communication skills, your artwork begins to flourish. This newfound self-awareness propels you towards artistic success and personal fulfillment

Not there yet? Again, that’s okay, the first step is simply to realize, and that’s a level of self-awareness that is rare and valuable.

5) You take responsibility for your actions

qualities that make ordinary people 8 signs you're growing as a person (even if it doesn't feel like it)

As you become more aware of your shortcomings, you will find that you begin to take more responsibility for your actions. You realize that you have agency –  the ability to act in the world.

This skill is really important when dealing with other people, especially those you are close to.  When there are conflicts or disagreements (and let’s face it, conflict is a part of life), you don’t blame yourself entirely, nor the other person.

So what do you do instead? 

You see your part in things and acknowledge them, and take responsibility for them.  

However it’s also very helpful if the other person is on the same journey, so they can respond in kind. That’s why it’s so important to set healthy boundaries and step away from toxic people.

6) You set healthy boundaries

It can be hard to set healthy boundaries, right?

But it’s so rewarding as it leaves you with the energy you need to be the best version of yourself.  And in doing so, you can help others when it’s appropriate.

So what does that look like?

Saying no to people – you aren’t trying to ‘people please’ anymore to prove yourself worthy of love. Or if you do, you do it less than before. And you’re more conscious of it. 

Part of this is knowing when to say no to things that aren’t healthy for you. This can look like cutting out toxic people from your life, and it may feel painful in the short term.

But it’s worth it. And worthwhile people will respect you more for it.

7) You are less judgemental

Part of effective communication and self-acceptance is becoming less judgemental.

Judgements are based on a particular preconceived view of the world.  As you grow as a person, you realize that most judgements are unhelpful. Why? Because we all come from a different story and many things are relevant.  

At the same time, you are still able to make judgment calls that affect your safety and wellbeing. You become adept at assessing your surroundings and trusting your intuition, ensuring that you can maintain both your open-heartedness and personal safety.

The best bit? You understand that judgements get in the way of truly connecting with others, which leads us to our next sign:

8) You feel a deeper connection with yourself, others and nature

Throughout the ups and downs of life, you notice that you have a deeper relationship with yourself.  In turn, this leads to more connection with other people, and ideally to nature as well.

Why is this important? Existential counsellors, such as Mia Leijssen, highlight the importance of connection for our sense of well-being and happiness.

Think about the last time you had a really great conversation with someone, played with an animal, admired a tree, or just spent some quality time with yourself.

Good feelings, right? Perhaps one of the greatest signs of self-growth is this growing sense of connection.

What if you don’t feel it yet? Well, that’s okay! 

The great thing about existential well-being is that when we don’t feel right with the world, we can change the balance of things.  

It’s simply a matter of realizing that what worked for you once doesn’t now, and then making the necessary adjustments to allow your life to flow once again.

What to remember on your self-growth journey

Remember that self-growth is an ongoing journey. So, if you’re not experiencing these signs yet, that’s fine. 

The journey is all about recognizing what no longer serves you, tweaking your recipe for success, and finding that sweet spot where life flows effortlessly. 

Embrace these steps, no matter how small they may seem. Trust in your power to evolve, shine brightly, and be like a tree that keeps growing no matter the weather.

In the words of 90’s band Chicane:

“Don’t worry if the sun don’t shine,

You’ve seen it before, you don’t need to worry.

Every day’s an uphill climb, nothing has changed

Believe me when I tell you,

Don’t give it up!”

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Picture of Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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