Personal Soul Searching + How You Can Develop Personal Growth
This week I have been doing a lot of soul searching. At the beginning of the week, I was reminded of a post I had shared on Facebook this time last year. Part of it read this:
So I’m sure many of you have noticed that I have not been updating about my life at college as much as I was this time last year and there is in fact a reason for that other than sheer laziness.
Over the summer I suffered from extreme anxiety to the point where I couldn’t eat for days at a time. It was an extremely difficult time in my life which made it all the more hard to leave home at the end of the summer. I came back to school early for LEAD week to prepare for my positions as SGA class president and as a peer mentor. I was extremely anxious to come back and had no idea what to expect from the year. Last year I had some troubles and I was concerned about coming back to them and falling into the same patterns.
Over the course the the two months I have been extremely busy. As mentioned, I am sophomore class president and a peer mentor for some lovely freshmen. Both of this positions have brought me some new friends that are constantly uplifting me and always making me laugh. I have also been working in basically all my free time.
The first month of school, however, was extremely difficult for me. Let me tell you, sophomore slump is a real thing people!! But I felt like it went even beyond that. I was completely unmotivated and had no energy to do anything productive and was having trouble getting back in the groove of being a student which was really hard for me because I have always been good at and enjoyed school. I spent many nights on the phone with my mom talking about my troubles and she continuously supported and encouraged me even though I’m sure she was as disappointed in my performance as I was in myself. At one point my academic and social life were so hard that I considered withdrawing from school and going home early to figure my life out and be with the people I love most.
It really got me thinking. I started my blog as an outlet for me to work through things in my life, but also as a way to help others going through the same things as me. However, I feel as though I have rarely shared what I am actually going through (like when I was feeling lost and lonely) or how others can find ways to cope with what they are going through. I began posting about things that I thought everyone else would like, which led me to stray away from my main goal: helping others.
During this week of soul searching, I’ve begun listening to podcasts. One of my favorites is by Sam Brown who runs Smart Twenties. I have followed Sam for a long time and have always loved her messages. In her podcast, she has been talking a lot about self doubt and perfectionism. These are two things that I suffer greatly from.
Every post that I want to create, I decide not to because I am afraid it won’t be good enough or that other people won’t like it. This happens especially when I want to address mental health topics. I convince myself that I am not qualified to talk about certain things and begin to have imposter syndrome. I wonder things like why would anyone listen to what I have to say? Or why do I think I am qualified to talk about this, what if no one relates? These questions that I ask myself are coated in self doubt. Even now, as I write this post, I am telling myself that it’s not good enough and I am coming up with a million different reasons why I shouldn’t post it.
One thing that I have come to realize is that I don’t have to have everything completely figured out in order to talk about it and help others. Sometimes it can be much more beneficial for people to see where you are and how you got through it while you’re going through it.
Sam once said that action combats fear. This has encouraged me to truly go after what I want, no matter what. After watching the first three days of her YouTube series called 365 Days of Personal Growth, I was inspired to challenge myself and my own personal growth. So starting today, I will be posting once a day as a way of combatting my self doubt. The posts will likely be much shorter than they have been (maybe not, who knows?) and there will probably be posts that are less interesting to you than others. That’s okay. The point of this is for me.
So instead of making this post all about myself, I thought I could include a few questions and tips for anyone else who wants to challenge themselves to do some soul searching or personal growth.
Where do you want to be in 5 years?
I have been asked this question countless times but never given it much thought. Now that I am 20 years old, and approaching the rest of my life, I feel it is time to think honestly. In 5 years do you want to be spending your days doing the same things you are today? do you want to have a career? Will you want a family? Be as specific as possible so that you can set goals and take action.
Wake up 20 minutes earlier than normal
This has given me the perfect opportunity to spend more time reading my Bible, writing in my journal, and watching Sam’s personal growth video of the day. What are some things you want to do during the day that you feel like you never have enough time for? Maybe waking up a few minutes earlier will help you with that.
What do you talk about doing, but never do?
For me, I always talk about wanting to get on a schedule to manage school, blogging, and personal time. Have you wanted to travel but never acted on it? Why haven’t you done it? Actively think about this throughout the day and truthfully answer why you havent done these things.
What would make you feel most fulfilled?
If you feel like something is missing in your life, think about what it could be. Have you been spending enough time actively trying to grow as a person or in your relationship with God? Do you hate the job you have and think another one would be a better fit? You don’t always have to stick to a plan (I’ve learned this the hard way). Figure out what’s missing and go after it!
Cut out anything unnecessary in your life
Over the last year I have become overly obsessed with social media. It got to the point where I was spending almost all my free time on it: while I was watching TV, as a way of avoiding homework or talking to people as I walked across campus, and even scrolling while people were talking to me. It wasn’t until I started comparing my life to my friends and feeling bad about myself that I realized how bad it had gotten. A few months ago I deleted my Twitter after realizing I didn’t talk to half the people I followed anyways. Since then I have gotten it back, but I only follow a few people who post encouragement or uplifting things. This has helped eliminate a lot of negativity. Decide what the main sources of negativity are in your life and eliminate them. Is there something or someone keeping you from growing? Are those things worth the complacency in your life?
I have always loved to write and sharing my story to help others only makes it that much better. I hope that you all continue to follow along with my on this journey and that these tips help at least one of you. Let me know in the comments how you implement personal growth into your life and be on the lookout for a new post tomorrow!