Growing pains

Personal growth is not always obvious


Illustration by Victoria Van

Story by Zane Johnston, staff writer

Asking a stranger for the time. Remembering to study for a test. Actually studying for that test. Telling someone how you feel. For many people, these seem absolutely impossible. For others, they are as easy as breathing.  However, the gap between these two lifestyles isn’t quite as big as it seems.Personal growth isn’t always obvious as it is happening. Often, we think of it as this huge leap that happens instantaneously, but that is not the case. The problem with this is that it often causes us to overlook how much we are constantly growing. Nearly everyone will be disappointed after a minor setback, usually so much so that they fail to see how far they have come. At the beginning of the year, I was shy, lacked confidence and was not in the best place emotionally. Though I can’t say that all of those have changed, I can confidently say that I’ve become a lot more comfortable around strangers and with myself. This didn’t happen overnight or just because I gave it time to happen. Growth is a constant process, and you constantly have to work toward it.

The key to this is acknowledging what part of yourself you want to improve then working to make that change. I always became anxious in social situations, and I hated being around strangers, which is something I wanted to change. Although this has not completely gone away, it has improved a lot. This came as a result of me putting in an effort to do little things, such as asking questions in class and greeting people that I didn’t know super well in the hallway. This helped me not only to become more social overall, but it also helped me become closer with people I was only acquaintances with. If you pay attention, you will notice little ways that you have grown. Maybe you managed to push your way through a crowd without looking too uncomfortable. Maybe you took notes the night before, instead of during free period. Maybe you went to sleep before two in the morning. Whatever would be growth for you is what is important to pay attention to; don’t get so caught up on where others are that you fail to see how far you’ve come.

Personal growth is important because it allows us to take the parts of ourselves that we aren’t fond of and improve or get rid of them. Instead of leaving us to think, ‘I really don’t like this about myself,’ it allows us to actually do something about these aspects of ourselves.  

Humans aren’t perfect; however, if we continuously try to grow, we can get as close as we can. Setbacks are inevitable, and the results of the growth will not be immediately obvious, but if you give yourself time, you will get yourself to where you want to be.