Personal Growth - Steps toward it
by John and Micki Baumann
Personal growth improves your life
Your emotions come full circle to let you know how you are doing.
Sending love energy
Each energy can be placed on a scale from low to high
Personal Growth and Love
Personal growth is a process that helps you become both a stronger and a better person. It is becoming more than you were before by expanding what you personally believe to be true, in a direction that moves you toward what is universally true or spiritually real. It is a process that moves you closer to being able to love universally or unconditionally, which is the basic reason why we are all here. In a broad sense, the pursuit of growth and the pursuit of universal love are one and the same thing, for whenever you grow as a person, you also become more loving. Living on this planet is a great opportunity to experience and practice some of the lessons necessary to love unconditionally. However, this is not an easy task, but it is one that everyone must learn in the end, since learning to love unconditionally is every person's ultimate spiritual goal. This opportunity for learning and growth is part of the reason that we tend to hook up with people of the opposite sex and do things in couples.
Growing as a person and learning to love are not things that happen TO you, but instead they are things that you actively DO. Whenever you love someone and care about him or her, you produce a powerful form of internal subtle energy that you can learn to send out from the energy centers of the Inner Self. This Love Energy emanates from you when you consciously love others and send the energy out to them, and it vibrates within you to strengthen your own Inner Being. Before you can learn to send out Love Energy, however, it is necessary to learn to BE some of the things that it takes to love unconditionally. This includes learning to accept, trust, need and be needed, commit, be kind, compassionate, patient, open, etc. It takes the pursuit of love to grow and make these kinds of positive changes. If you are not interested in becoming a more loving person as part of your growth, then it will be very difficult for you to take steps toward that growth.
We believe that the reason we are here living in a physical body that is both fragile and vulnerable, is to learn to take care of ourselves and our body and keep it from being hurt, and also to learn to keep from hurting others. In order to accomplish this we must also learn to become a caring and loving person, to care about ourselves and others. It also means becoming a better person, and a stronger person in the sense of being able to take charge of our lives so we can learn how to survive and live well while we are on this planet.
Preparing to Make the First Attitude Change
If you are not familiar with the process of making attitude changes, you won't know what to expect the first time you do it. You may initially resist the idea because both the process and the outcome are unfamiliar to you, and it can be scary to enter such unfamiliar territory. It can be disturbing to face the possibility of changing how you operate when you have no idea where the change will take you.
There is both comfort and discomfort in staying with an old and familiar viewpoint or attitude. There is a certain comfort in continuing to do what you have always done just because you KNOW what will happen. You know what outcome to expect, even though you sometimes don't like how you feel when it happens. There is also discomfort in continuing in your old ways, especially when those ways sometimes make you feel as if nothing is going the way the way you want, and everything is about to come crashing down on you. In addition, there is the uncomfortable prospect of changing to something unfamiliar, which automatically triggers your fear of the unknown. Sometimes things have to get so bad that you are less afraid of an attitude change, than of continuing in the previous direction. This is why the first attitude change is sometimes a move of desperation, a last ditch effort to make your life work.
Because of this, it usually takes a large step of faith before you feel ready to make the first attitude change. In taking this step, it helps to know you can expect your life to be truly better after the change. This is one of the main things that makes you willing to go through whatever is necessary to make the change happen. And you need to know that there is really nothing to be afraid of. In this case it is true that "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself".
Practicing the New Attitude
As soon as you have made the decision to adopt the new attitude (step 3 below), you immediately find that your life starts to work better. The benefits show themselves almost immediately. You feel very relieved and your fears diminish. Over the next few weeks you get used to the new attitude, and it soon becomes a part of who you are. When this happens you have truly gained the benefits of the change. Because you are less afraid, you feel stronger and more self-confident, and find that you have more energy to put into accomplishing things. And after seeing how much the first attitude change has improved the quality of your life, you are not so apprehensive about making further changes.
Making Subsequent Changes
While the first attitude change can be very difficult emotionally, the second is somewhat easier. You begin to realize that nothing terrible is going to happen to you in making these changes, and this encourages you. By the time you have experienced the third attitude change, you know you don't need to be afraid of what lies on the other side of an attitude change. Also, by this time your life is already so much better that you are almost eager to make more changes. This is because things FEEL so much better to you, especially because you no longer have the same strong negative emotional responses to things that used to bother you before. This is one way of knowing that you have grown. In addition, when you can suddenly look back on a particular experience and say "Now I know why I had to go through that", then you know that you have grown.
The Human Qualities, or Energies
Built into the Inner Being of every person are certain Human Qualities or characteristics. Kindness, intimacy and patience are examples of these qualities. Other qualities that people commonly spend time working on when pursuing personal growth are listed here. Everyone has a capacity for all these human qualities, but each person develops them at his own pace. This is why these qualities are more evolved in some people than in others. For example, everyone has the basic characteristic inherent in kindness, but some people have developed the capacity to use it to a much greater degree than others.
Each of these human qualities or characteristics is sometimes called an energy, since it acts as a form of energy that you can command and use. Energies can be referred to by using the name of their associated quality, as in “the kindness energy” or “the intimacy energy” or “the patience energy”. An energy is something you can turn on and off and project out from yourself to others, and when you do that, it has an effect on the person it is directed toward. These energies are dynamic in nature, since how much you use them changes from day to day and from minute to minute. At any particular time, you can choose to put out as much as you want of any of them, up to your maximum ability in each one.
A Scale from Low to High.
The energies make up the different human qualities, or "ways of being", or ways of operating your life. You can look at each energy as being on a scale from low to high. You could even put each energy on a scale from one to ten to rate yourself in each one. For example, in the case of the trust energy, at the top or "ten" end of the scale you have the ability to trust someone completely, whereas at the bottom or "one" end you are suspicious of everyone because you do not really have the ability to trust to any degree. In the case of the self esteem or yang energy, at the top end you are strong and have courage, whereas at the bottom end you are weak and timid. All of the energies could be viewed as being on a similar scale. As you grow in any energy, you climb the ladder of that energy to a higher number on its scale. For more information on the energies click here.
Emotions as Feedback
When you start to grow and make changes in your life, there is a wonderful mechanism that tells you how well you are doing. This mechanism is your emotions. Your emotions provide a type of feedback that continually shows you who you are. They are a strong indicator of what is good for you, and what is not. You just have to tune in to them and learn to know what they mean.
Whenever you feel any kind of emotion, it tells you something about how your Inner Being is operating. At times emotions can be almost overpowering in telling you how you are doing. This is particularly true of the negative emotions, including the different varieties of fear and anger. These emotions show you that something in your life is not going smoothly, and that there are changes you need to make. The negative things you feel most strongly emotionally, are also the things you will feel most compelled to deal with. These are the things to concentrate on first when you want to grow as a person.
Each negative emotion has a connection to a particular way of being, and when you feel that emotion, you subconsciously know it is that particular way of being that is giving you problems. So when you are considering what attitudes you most need to change, the negative emotions are a strong clue. Emotions such as feeling intimidated, lonely, restricted, helpless, obligated, defensive, gloomy, pessimistic, regretful, remorseful, discouraged, disappointed, jealous, aggressive, frustrated, bitter, disapproving, resentful, and revengeful are prime candidates for attitude change.
Similarly, the positive emotions such as caring, comfort and joy, indicate the different aspects of your life that are going smoothly and are creating contentment and happiness for you. These function as a kind of reward for being able to make your life work well. If something feels good emotionally, it probably is good.
Incentives for Growth
The rewards of growing are enough to inspire anyone to want to make growth changes. With each growth step, there is a very noticeable lessening of the negative emotions that relate to fear and anger. And on the positive side, you get to FEEL things. Over time, you begin to feel people's emotions, because as you grow you learn to tune in to those things. Also, the more you grow, the better your life becomes. You have more serenity, and less stress. Relationships with other people go more smoothly because you become better at choosing relationships that are good for you, and this helps prevent you from getting involved with the wrong people. And mentally you get better at thinking clearly, and knowing what to expect in particular situations.
Just as the Nautilus grows by adding to its spiral shaped shell in ever-expanding increments, a person grows by adding to his or her Inner Being in a way that continuously expands who he or she is as a person. This is done by changing attitudes in ways that increase the energies of the Inner Being and makes them stronger and better. The results of growing can also be seen as an ever-expanding spiral, since there is no upper limit to growth.
Steps in Making an Attitude Change
Step 1. Being Willing to Make a Change
You notice that every time you are in a particular kind of situation and you respond in your normal way, you really don't like what ends up happening. You are unhappy with how it seems to work out, time after time. You don't like it and want to change it, but you are afraid of changing anything in your attitudes because the result is unknown and therefore scary. After some more unpleasant experiences in this same area, you eventually get to the point where you will do ANYTHING to change this pattern of events that causes you so much unhappiness. In order to be able to make your first attitude change, it is usually necessary to get to the point where you are willing to go through WHATEVER it takes to change this thing. If you are not yet at that point, you may not have what it takes to complete the change. This is the first step in making changes.
Step 2. Getting Insight
You search your mind for what attitude you need to change. You do this by looking at the cause-and-effect pattern you dislike so much, and you ask yourself why this pattern happens. You will nearly always come up with at least some possible answers. Many of these answers are only partial, in that they, in turn, require you to ask why THAT happens. In this way, you may go 3 or 4 levels into it, asking WHY at each level. Eventually, you get to a place where there are no more why's to ask, and this is where you stop asking questions. You now have what you consider the most likely answer, that is, you now know what you have to do in terms of changing your mental attitude, although you haven't done it yet. (You can also get suggestions by looking at the list of stones and energies). This process of searching, introspection and self-interrogation can be emotionally very difficult, and this is the reason that you have to want the change very badly. If you don't want the change badly enough, you won't make it through this part of it. This is the second and most difficult step in making changes.
Step 3. Deciding to Do It
You make a firm decision to change to the new attitude for at least long enough that you can see the difference in the results it produces. To do this, you plant the mental attitude firmly in your mind by focusing on it and thinking of it as intensely as you can. You also write it down so you can look at it in a concrete way when you need to, as a reminder of your level of commitment to yourself to make this change. You review the new attitude by consciously thinking about it every day for a time, until its concept is firmly in your mind. This is the third step.
Step 4. Practicing the New Attitude
You practice using the new attitude at every opportunity, and you notice the difference in cause-and-effect pattern from before. At this point, you are developing an awareness and skill through USING the attitude to get experience and feedback. After a few weeks of this, the new attitude will start to operate in an automatic and almost subconscious way, and you won't have to think about it consciously anymore.
Personal Growth and Attitude Change
Attitudes are thought patterns that make up your outlook, viewpoint or approach to life. It is these attitudes that determine your mental orientation toward yourself, or another person, or a type of situation. The one thing absolutely necessary in order to grow, is the ability to change an attitude, outlook or viewpoint toward something or someone. Attitude change is a fundamental part of personal growth because it is attitudes that determine the strength of the subtle energy that operates inside you.
In order to grow, it is necessary to change a mental attitude. When you change an attitude, and start to operate according to the new attitude, you expand your experience of life into new and different areas. It has been said that experience is the best teacher. This is because experience gives you feedback, and it is feedback that is your real teacher. Feedback from new experiences gives you a new mental awareness that helps you operate your life better.
To make an attitude change, it is good to begin with an area of your life that upsets you on a fairly regular basis. This will show you how calming an attitude change can be. You will be pleasantly surprised at the outcome. For suggestions on how to make attitude changes for specific human qualities, go to the list of stones and energies, click on a particular energy, and read the section at the bottom of the page that talks about becoming better in that energy. As an example, to see how an attitude change in the Trust energy might work, click here.
Since crystals and stones amplify or strengthen the subtle energy that makes up the Inner Being, they are ideal tools for helping with growth. Carrying a quartz crystal or stone in your pocket or purse while making an attitude change, will help make the change as easy as possible. It will not make the change for you. Only you can do that. But it will strengthen your resolve, help you gain the necessary insight, and make it easier for your energy centers to get to their new level.