So you've worked really hard on your personal growth and you think you've grown as a person. But what if you change and people don't realize you are different? What if they don't notice how much you've changed?

Something interesting happened to me the other day. I had an enlightening conversation with my best friend.

After I mentioned that I had been harmlessly flirting with a single male friend who happens to live in Sydney, my friend commented that she hoped I wasn’t going to give up everything and move interstate for him.

I was shocked. I was surprised she would even suggest such a thing.

Then I remembered an all-important point.

In the past, I have relocated for relationships. Twice. In 1990 I moved interstate and in 2000 I moved overseas. Both were for love (or at least what I believed was love at the time).

Both instances, however, were a long time ago, which led me to think.

What happens if we do all this personal growth work but nobody notices how much we’ve changed and grown as a person?

It made me ask the question – are we always the sum of our earlier mistakes and experiences?

Is previous experience (no matter how long ago) an indicator of future action?

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Here are some of my thoughts on change and personal growth.

People can change but only when they want to

I know people can change because I have changed a lot myself. I changed because I wanted to.

I have also grown up a lot and matured. Losing my father forever changed me.

Choosing to work with a life coach was a huge positive turning point for me. Taking that step, asking for help, and admitting that I wanted more out of life was a healthy step forward.

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Personal growth is something you do for yourself

The whole point of personal development and growth is not to impress others.

It shouldn’t matter that other people don’t notice just how far you have come.

What matters is that you are aware of how much you have grown. It’s important to be proud of yourself and the person that you have become.

It’s important to acknowledge your progress even if you still have a long way to go.

Whilst I’m not an ego-driven person when my friend made her comment, I think my ego may have kicked into play (feeling a little bruised in the process).

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Recent behavior is often an indicator of future behavior

I believe this to be true on many levels.

Take Tiger Woods for example. I noticed in the paper the other day that he has a new girlfriend. Personally, I wouldn’t want to be her. He doesn’t have a great track record when it comes to infidelity. Cheating became a habit and way of life for him. It’s not a one-off highly regrettable mistake he made ten years ago.

I’m no expert but there is a good chance he will continue to cheat. His recent experience will most likely be repeated.

Related post – Are You Repeating the Same Mistakes?

Just because things look the same from the outside doesn’t mean they are

From the outside, my life probably looks a lot the same. I live in the same house, have the same furniture, and still look the same (give or take more wrinkles and some extra weight).

What has changed for me is what’s on the inside.

The parts that people can’t evaluate as easily such as higher self-confidence and self-esteem.

Related post – Know Your Own Worth

People are busy with their own lives

It’s important to point out that people probably do notice, but they are also busy living their own lives.

I know deep down my friend knows I wouldn’t move interstate on a whim.

Also, I have to admit in my friend’s defense, she does have a point in regard to one part of my personality.

I’m a spontaneous person. I like that side of myself and it’s one part of me that I don’t plan on changing any time soon!

My response to my dear friend was honest and to the point. I simply replied that I did those things a long time ago and I am not the same person now.

Have you had a personal growth breakthrough that family and friends simply didn’t notice? Did it matter to you in the end?

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