Be more assertive. Be more confident. Take more risks.
What does it all even mean? How is it measured? It's so subjective... forever open to interpretation.
Even more, it can feel like personal development is this never ending road that continues onto the horizon, never giving you a glimpse into when you'll reach your goal.
But then you have moments when you realize you've come a lot further than you thought.
When I first started my blog it was an exercise in making a conscious effort to use my voice and put my thoughts out into the world. I was facing a fear, a fear of people thinking my ideas and opinions are stupid. It has been over a year and though I still work on facing this fear - beyond my blog, both online through outlets like Twitter and in real life such as with family - I can't say that I've felt like I've made significant progress.
Not that I felt like I wasn't. I just hadn't stopped to think about it.
But yesterday I took pause while talking to a friend. I had just finished spewing out reasons why I felt a certain way about what we were discussing. Jokingly, I followed with:
As you can see I feel strongly about this.
And he responded, saying:
What don't you feel strongly about other than sports?*
I was completely shocked. Did he mean that? Was I perceived as an opinionated person? This was a complete contrast to my perception of myself as someone who spends energy straddling one too many fences.
Not believing his assessment, I decided to get a second opinion. I asked one of my über opinionated girlfriends who has known me since my timid days. Her response:
Ehh kind of. But no more than me.
If it were anyone else, I might have shrugged it off. But I couldn't. One of the most opinionated people I knew thought that I was at least as opinionated as her. And as the reality started to sink in, another girlfriend unexpectedly chimed in with her input, cosigning all that had been said.
I could no longer ignore it. My personal growth had witnesses.
In that moment I finally stopped to celebrate how far I've come.
*It's no secret that I don't pay attention to or care about sports... unless I'm at a stadium of some kind with food and wine in hand.