Personal growth is something we all get endless messages about. Lose weight, tone your arms, find inner peace, connect with the astral plane, find new spiritual awakening. And any or all of those things may be a great goal for you. Thing is, as you’re probably aware, there’s a lot more to it.
Some of those endless messages are likely well-meant promptings from someone else. But pursuing your personal growth is just that – it's personal. It's your growth that you need as the one-of-a-kind individual that you are. It’s part of what makes you unique. Your personal growth may well include your intended growth with a partner. Just the same, it may or may not depend on anyone. Our personal growth is self-motivated and driven by our personal needs and desires. So what do you want for yourself and your future? This post has some ideas, but it's always your choice.
Firstly, it’s important to get specific about what you want. Define what your success looks like. Is it a number on a scale, muscle mass, number of language sessions, books you read per month, hours spent meditating? Make sure you set precise, measurable, time-limited goals so you can best measure your progress.
I tend to think in grand goals, but I’ve found I need to set realistic progress marks to really get traction on my personal growth. Breaking an abstract idea like finishing my next writing project into smaller pieces really helps me keep my momentum. Instead of just saying I want to finish another project by the end of the year, I set specific goals for each month, like number of brainstorming sessions or word count for the draft.
As another example, I wanted to learn lucid dreaming. I didn’t succeed right away, and I grew frustrated. But that frustration and negative energy actually further impeded my progress. So I just used my sleep meditations at least 4 times a week and let my brain do its thing. Sure enough, I was dreaming how I wanted within a month.
Now since this is Profound Partnerships, I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about how partners fit into our personal growth. You know that saying “The couple that laughs together stays together”? That’s pretty true, but there’s a slight variation even truer. The couple that grows together stays together. Two big things here. One, our partner can be a wonderful companion to help us achieve shared goals. Some of my friends love couples workouts to get in shape. I love cooking a healthy dinner together. You can meditate together, pray together, brainstorm your goals together. Working together to achieve growth for both of you can be an incredible bonding experience.
Two, our partner can be our cheerleader, and we can be theirs. Sometimes you two won’t have the same personal growth goals – and that’s okay! I’d say it’s encouraged. Say your partner wants to learn a new language while you want to start an herb garden. You can remind each other to take that language lesson today, to water the plants when they need it.
Carolyn’s mom had a different spin on the phrase: “The couple that prays together, stays together.” Say your partner wants to grow closer to their God, while you want to explore what religion best suites you. Talk about your experiences searching for the divine together. If you share the same religion or worship the same God, your spiritual journey together may be more familiar. Enjoy growing closer to the divine together. Challenge each other to try new ways of relating to your God.
If you belong to different belief systems – religious or not – that’s a strength too. Take joy in your different pursuits, and learn from each other. Your different experiences and goals are what make you such a strong team. Respect each of your beliefs for the beautiful expressions of your own selves that they are.
Let’s toy around with that phrase some more. How about “play together, stay together.” This is similar to laughing together, but it’s more about sharing fun, novel activities. Try something completely outside both your comfort zones together. Enjoy the exploration; revel in the marvelous story you’ll tell each other years from now. You can try something big and novel, like a few weeks of cooking classes or some dance lessons or running a marathon. You can try something small, like one of those viral online dances making the rounds. Try new things that bring out your joy in life and in each other.
Playing is also a great way to talk about your desires. Sometimes it’s hard to speak up for what we want, or we try and it just doesn’t seem to come out right. Try making a game of playing around with ideas together. It can be so much easier to laugh your way through something new with your partner.
The point is couples who explore together, stay together. Humans aren’t stagnant creatures; we grow and change day to day, month to month, year after year. We’re constantly evolving. So our relationships need to do the same. To find that profound partnership you’re both after, you’ll need to challenge each other as well as comfort. Explore your relationship as it changes with you both. Embrace the intimacy, passion, and trust that comes with always finding more about your partner to learn and love.
There’s always more. More to explore, more to understand, more to fall madly in love with every day for the rest of your lives. Looking back over our years, we can embrace how the desires we acted on shaped our ever-evolving life. Enjoy doing whatever is important to you. It's never too late to think about your personal growth. Savor every moment!