3 Ways We Hinder Our Own Growth (365 Days of Spirited Living – DAY 251)
“What we fear of doing most is usually what we most need to do.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
Physical growth is automatic. Personal growth is a choice. Choices are the things we can control. It shapes us into better people, or worse. It helps us improve on our journey, or regress. It gives us freedom to do the things we should, or binds for doing the things we shouldn’t. It is by choice that we choose to grow inwardly, or by default, choose not to grow at all. Growth takes work and making the right choice is equally as hard. Nothing is more powerful than the ability to make the right decision, and at the same time, nothing can be more destructive than making the wrong one.
Here are 3 ways we hinder our own growth without even knowing it:
1. We do the opposite of what our conscience tells us.
Our conscience is that small internal voice that serves as a guiding light to help us direct ourselves in the good and right way. It dictates whether we feel good or feel bad after or before an action or thought. It is our gut instinct that determines where we go, what we do, and ultimately how we get there. But too often external voices speak louder than we sometimes think.
And what happens when we allow the voice of our conscience to be quieted by the external voices that exist all around us is we look in retrospect at the choices we could have made and wonder why we doubted ourselves or didn’t use better judgment. You wouldn’t overlook your health if you were sick; don’t overlook your conscience when it begins to speak. Let yourself trust what your conscience is telling you.
2. We use blame as a weapon to defend ourselves from responsibility.
I’m sure we’ve all met the person who comes across as the angry victim who blames the world for his problems. To some extent, everyone uses blame as a defense mechanism, mostly to protect our ego. In truth, we’re really defending ourselves from taking responsibility for dealing with some unfortunate situation we’ve found ourselves in. Using blame only blinds us to seeing how we’re contributing to our own problems.
To engage in blame is to pass off personal responsibility to someone else. It is to emotionally and mentally convince ourselves that we are not responsible for the condition of our lives. Instead of embracing our interior locus of control to make decisions and contribute to our progress and wellbeing, we blame an exterior locus of control for why we’re failing or why we lack. Growth begins the moment we take full responsibility for the state of our lives and the future of our existence.
3. We are never content or satisfied.
Contentment is an attitude, and I think, a virtue. In a way, it is to be happy with what you have now and where you are now so much that you have space to improve your life as you see fit. People who fight for perfection do so only to disappointment themselves. Finding areas of our lives in which we can do better is a good step towards progress and creating a better tomorrow. But it can be discouraging if we train ourselves to believe everything we do, or worse, everything someone else does, is not good enough.
A part of personal growth is being able to know when you’ve done your absolute best. It is also being satisfied and happy with the results, whatever they are. Nothing we do will ever be perfect, but it can be the best we’ve got. No football player plays a perfect game. But it doesn’t really matter if it was perfect, so much as he gave the game the very best he has to offer. When we learned to happy with the very best, many times, it turns out to be so much better than we originally thought.
“There is no life as complete as the life that is lived by choice.”
— Shad Helmstetter