I’ve been thinking a lot lately about personal growth; how far I’ve come in the past year, and how much I’ve learned about myself. And while that’s great and it’s super important to bask in the glow of personal growth and feel proud of yourself, I think it’s equally as important to always strive for more growth.
There are obviously lots of aspects of my life that could use some growth. God knows I’m far from perfect. But the pursuit of perfection really isn’t the point of personal growth is it? I think the point is to always be moving forward, always working towards your most authentic self, always striving for the version of yourself that brings you the most peace and fulfillment. That’s my interpretation of it anyway.
With that loose definition in mind, I try to consider the areas of my life where some personal growth will have maximum impact. Yeah of course I could do with being a better gardener, but am I going to get much value from that in comparison to say, curbing my outrageous shopping habit? It’s all about value and figuring out where you can get the most in your life. Otherwise we’d be trying to improve in absolutely every way all of the time, and wouldn’t that be fucking exhausting?
So I’ve identified the three areas of my life that I think could really benefit from personal growth the most. Maybe some of them will resonate with you and inspire you to embark on some growth of your own.
I could write an entire blog post on my feelings about spirituality, and I actually might do that soon, because it’s something that’s been really important to me in the past. Although I was never religious or remotely spiritual in the past, through the mediation practice that was essentially at the core of my recovery from depression I developed a spirituality for the first time in my life completely unintentionally.
This became such an important part of my life as I moved through the recovery process, until at some stage in the second half of 2017, I lost it. For some reason, I stopped meditating, and I lost the sense of faith in and connection to something greater which had become such a big part of me.
Lately I’ve been really feeling that loss. Everything’s feeling a bit random again. I’m feeling a bit lost and directionless. It’s like I’ve become disconnected from myself again, which is a pretty unsettling feeling for me given my past feelings about myself.
So I’m resolved to prioritize this area of my life once again, which I kind of hate because developing my meditation practice in the first place was bloody hard and I know it’s going to be hard again. But I miss my spirituality. It gave me certainty and comfort in the hardest times of my life, and I want that back.
I feel like I’ve spent my entire adult life declaring to the world that I’m gonna be better with money from now on. The truth is, I’m worse than useless with money. I’m abysmal. I really shouldn’t be let have any money at all.
Now don’t get me wrong; the rent is always paid, there’s food in our bellies, the apartment is warm, and all the most necessary basics are covered. Rosie is in no danger. No need to call the social workers just yet. But I am living in a constant state of debt juggling and there’s just never anything left over.
The interesting thing about this is that I don’t actually see it as a problem with my ability to be disciplined. Instead I see it as a problem with my value system. I’m deep in a phase of almost frantic clothes buying. Almost every week there’s a package from Asos, Newlook or Boohoo. My wardrobes are absolutely bursting. And yet I have no money to take the dog to the vet for her shots.
I think I really need to examine this spending and try to understand what’s going on there. Am I trying to fill some hole with stuff? Do I feel like my life is missing something? Is it the fear of missing out? Am I just trying to distract myself from something by buying shiny new things? I think that until I figure out what’s actually causing this, I’ll never be able to curb it.
One of my new years resolutions for this year was to develop a new night time routine at home with Rosie. Because I don’t have a typical full time job, our lives have had very little routine from day one. This isn’t necessarily a problem, but I like routine and find that it’s really good for my mental health. And I didn’t want her to be raised in a home that was total chaos all the time. So I wanted to concentrate on bringing it into our lives a little bit more.
For the first two months of the year this went really well. At 8.30pm I’d pop Rosie into the shower cap and give her a quick shower, then dry her off and help her to moisturize. By 8.50 she’d be in bed with me lying beside her, and I’d read her two or three chapters of whatever book she was currently on. It was great. She was falling asleep much more quickly than she usually did, and it was just a really nice time for the two of us to be together with no tv, no phone, no laptop, no animals and no household jobs distracting me.
That didn’t last though. I don’t know why. I guess I just got too relaxed with it or something. Anyway, I really enjoyed it and I know she did too, so I want to try to reinstate it again and keep it going this time. Not only is it good for Rosie, but I know it’s good for my mental health too, so why not!?