Sometimes, growth is subtle. Often, we only see it clearly in retrospect. Though we often assume that our growth will be completely evident to us, it’s usually the small shifts, done repeatedly, that make the biggest difference. Here are a few signs that you’re really growing as a person, even if it doesn’t feel like you are.
1. You’ve let go of an old dream.
One of the universal markers of inner growth is always a heightened degree of self-awareness, and that can very often come from realizing that what we are pursuing might not really be what we want.
The truth is that we outgrow our dreams and plans more frequently than we realize, and if we aren’t conscious of what’s happening, it can seem as though we’ve lost out, missed an opportunity, or didn’t actualize our potential.
In reality, we let go of old dreams because they were designed for a person we no longer are.
2. You’re no longer content to live a surface-level existence.
Instead of looking good, you are more interested in feeling good. Instead of appearing as though you have a cool weekend, you want to have a fulfilling and relaxing weekend. Instead of trying to earn approval, you’re more interested in digging up your own self-love.
You might still love social media, but you understand that it is a piece of life, not your entire existence. You might still love to put yourself together well, but you understand that you have to like what you see in the mirror, because trying to constantly mold yourself to other people’s standards is a game you can’t win.
Your life is starting to take on more depth and substance, and it’s because you realize that you can never truly feel fulfilled just existing on the surface.
3. You want to understand why.
You’re no longer content to just accept things as “the way it is,” you want to really understand.
You want to understand why some people react certain ways, or hold limiting and false beliefs. You want to understand why a relationship ended the way it did, and what role you did or didn’t play in how it unfolded. You want to understand why you’re triggered by certain things, why you respond the way you do, why you think the way you do.
This is the entryway to truly changing your life. You’re finally asking the right questions, and beginning to see just how many people live on auto-pilot.
You do not want to be one of them.
4. You might feel embarrassed about past choices.
While nobody ever has to feel embarrassed about their past, many people do, especially when going through periods of more intense growth.
You might look back on what you said, did and wore even in recent history and cringe. This is because you’re starting to realize that a lot of those decisions were actually coming from a place of insecurity, or a desire to fit in, or unconscious beliefs that were never questioned.
While it might be uncomfortable on the surface, being able to look back at your past self and realize that you are different from them is often a huge sign of real growth.
5. You’ve lost touch with a lot of people, or a big relationship ended.
This is almost always one of the biggest signs that someone is changing — when their social circle no longer fits them anymore.
It’s not that there’s necessarily anything wrong with you or them, simply that you might not have anything in common anymore. You are changing, and so the people you attract and “click” with do, too.
On the other hand, you may have lost a close relationship, which shook you awake and prompted you to begin a journey of self-discovery. While this is important, remember that it’s okay to grieve, and know that people phase in and out of our lives (yes, even the ones we care most about) for a reason.
Trust that process.
6. You’re more concerned about quality than quantity.
Work, friends, experiences — no matter what it is, you’re no longer able to sustain a fast paced life with minimal substance.
Now, you’re more interested in having a few really close friends as opposed to dozens of acquaintances. You’d rather do a few projects really, really well than try to fill your days with work and hope it all turns out okay. You’d rather take one or two trips and have them be the exact experiences you want than constantly be on the move but not really being present.
Rather than having a lot of things, you realize that all you need is a few really good ones.
Anything else just spreads you too thin, and never really gets you what you want anyway.
7. You’re rediscovering your soul.
You’re remembering your love for music, art, or creativity.
You’re listening to songs that make you feel again. You find yourself crying with relief, or sadness. You are empathizing with others. You are redesigning all of the details of your life with more heart and care than you ever have before.
This means that you’re coming home to yourself.
You’re rediscovering the essence of who you are, and you’re opening back up to your soul.
Even if you closed off for a while out of self-protection, this piece of you was always there, waiting for you to reach inward again, and allow it to be.