A short while back, we mused around the idea that some might see selfishness in the pursuit of personal growth. In order to flesh out the conversation about the benefits of personal growth, it’s important that we look at another angle to the discussion as to whether the pursuit of personal growth is, indeed, selfish.
For the most part, based on more than a few decades of research and practice, psychologists agree that we need to have a caring relationship with ourselves before we can expect others to have a caring relationship with us. For a lot of folks, this caring relationship with ourselves requires personal growth. However, this doesn’t mean that you are selfish. In fact, it is quite the contrary.
In his book, “The Psychology of Romantic Love,” Nathaniel Brandon wrote that, “The first affair we must consummate successfully is the love affair with ourselves. Only then are we ready for other love relationships.”
You see, no matter how concerned we are about others, we are ultimately responsible only for ourselves. If we feel inadequate and victimized, then we have no power to offer another person security and strength. In this instance, less is definitely not more.
Self-development means being the best you can be and giving the best you can give. It means asking yourself, “If I were living with me, would I want to stay around?” Then, depending upon the answer, you change what you need to change without making a big deal about it. Being honest with yourself, no matter how difficult, then allows you to be compassionately honest with others.
You see, although there are tremendous personal benefits to self-development, it is perhaps in your relationships that a commitment to personal growth will bring you the most gratifying changes. The more of you there is, the greater you are within yourself, then the more there is to give to others.