If you are interested in pursuing personal growth, does this necessarily mean you are a selfish person? Not necessarily, but personal change does have effects beyond ourselves. Today, let’s look at how personal growth affects relationships.
There is no question about it. We need to have a caring relationship with ourselves before we can expect others to do so. Showing that we have respect for ourselves tends to drive others to provide us with their respect for us, in return – provided that we earn that respect.
Being interested in personal growth doesn’t mean you’re selfish. In fact, it’s quite the contrary. In his book, “The Psychology of Romantic Love,” Nathaniel Brandon wrote, “The first affair we must consummate successfully is the love affair with ourselves. Only then are we ready for other love relationships.” In other words, if we don’t even like ourselves, it’s going to be difficult to love others.
Human beings are social beings, and we live – one way or another – in community with other human beings. When we work toward the betterment of something, in community with others, then it’s important to bring our own “A-game” to the party. And that almost demands we love and respect ourselves first.
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. Without that firm personal foundation, we are building our relationships on what amounts to quicksand.
Self-development means being the best you can be and giving the best that you can give. It means asking yourself, “If I were living with me, would I want to stay around?” Yes, that’s a big question, and one that demands an answer. Then, you change what you need to change according to that answer you have given yourself. And you don’t need to make a big deal about it.
You see, although there are tremendous personal benefits to self-development, it is, perhaps, in your relationships with others that a commitment to personal growth will bring you the most gratifying changes – and a deeper sense of happiness and contentment.