I think reflection is important for self evaluation and growth. As much as it’s important to focus on the now and not to dwell on the past, discovering changes about yourself and ways you’ve developed through ageing I think is essential for personal growth.

Speaking for myself alone, I do believe I have changed completely as a person from being younger. I am almost 27 and I would say in the last couple of years I am more myself than ever or at least more comfortable with who I am.

I can’t remember myself in primary school as that was 20 years ago but in high school I was trying to be some kind of version of myself. This version of myself wasn’t super self aware. I remember feelings of anxiety throughout high school, feelings of uncertainty and unease. Making friends with people that really weren’t a reflection of myself and acting a way that I can certainly say wasn’t me.

For me personal growth happens when I can accept my previous ‘failures’ and I’m able to understand where I went wrong or areas that need altering and work on improving them. But I think it’s important not to be too hard on myself. To give myself credit where it’s due. Because really this was a failure of mine previously. I would be my own worst critic. I would lose sleep over thoughts that I had done things wrong and messed up somehow. I knew this wasn’t a sustainable way to live. I wasn’t sleeping. I was overthinking everything. I was irritable. It just wasn’t okay. So I have acknowledged this. Now if I’m in bed and an unwanted thought comes to my head, I acknowledge it and just say to myself I’m fine, everything is fine, I will not care about this in 2 days time. And that pretty much does it. I am able to move on from the thought and get to sleep. This to me is personal growth.

But sometimes personal growth happens without realising. It can just be a subconscious thing. I used to be so strict on myself, so uptight and wound up. But over the last year or 2 I found that I’m not like this anymore. I go with the flow more. I don’t let things get me so frustrated. I am able to brush things off more, which isn’t always a good thing but from how I was before, this to me is a positive change. I’m not easily offended, which I definitely used to be. I can take criticism and negative comments and decide whether I will think on them or not; rather than obsess about others opinions and try to be what they want.

Meditation has really helped me grow as a person; I may sound really pompous saying that but really it has. I am more in tune with myself. More in tune with my breathing and focus. I am able to switch off for however long and just be. I would highly recommend mediation as a way to find control in yourself and become more grounded. It doesn’t have to be a long meditation, even 5 or 10 minutes to just be peaceful, it really does help.

I also believe my self confidence has grown. I was never one to have much belief in myself really. I would doubt myself a lot and question my choices. But I have realised recently that this has improved. I have gained more responsibility at work and this has definitely helped improve my character. Also the simple task of introducing myself, this I would struggle with immensely. When I started university I had no confidence meeting new people, I still do struggle with this. However, now if the situation calls for it, I will introduce myself to new people. I’ve been told I’m a bit of a slow burner and this is totally true. It takes awhile for me to warm up to people, this is something I have been working on and still am. I don’t necessarily think this is a negative thing though. I don’t like to give myself up straight away. I’m not a closed book but it definitely takes awhile for the pages to turn.

I think it’s important to remember you’re not in competition with yourself or anyone else. Personal growth doesn’t have to be a quick fix, most of the time it takes awhile for development to happen. And that is okay. Taking time to know yourself and grow in whichever way you feel necessary, this is what matters.

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