It can be hard growing up. A lot of us are struggling to figure it all out. It’s a lot like a marathon and sometimes we hit Heartbreak Hill and begin to doubt ourselves and wonder why we even began in the first place. We can get caught up in the fact that we’re not keeping the same pace as those around us, and forget to enjoy the journey. All too often we equate human maturity with external factors and milestones and forget that that’s really only half of being human. It’s so easy to lose perspective of the other half, and to not even notice that, along the way, we’re growing so much more than we realize. Here are 11 ways you’re growing without even realizing it.
1. You take risks despite the fear. You have the courage to move with the things that bring you joy and you have the courage to walk away from the things that don’t. It’s not that you don’t feel afraid, but rather you acknowledge that there is a greater imperative than fear. You will follow your bliss wherever it takes you.
2. You can keep your ego in check. You’ve learned that true power and greatness comes from humility and self awareness. And while you certainly can have a healthy sense of pride, you don’t let it over-inflate you to the point that you completely lose touch with yourself. Similarly, while you will stand firm in your convictions, you’re able to listen to and entertain view points and opinions that are in opposition to yours.
3. You have authority over yourself. You feel that true authority comes from within, and you know that those who try to assert it over others the most actually have the least amount of it.
4. You’re not afraid to question anything. Nothing is sacred if it disagrees with your own common sense and good judgment. Whether it’s political, educational, scientific, religious or the latest trend, you’re not inclined to just go along with popular opinion without first getting answers to key questions.
5. You don’t blindly follow the crowd. Mark Twain said it best: “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”
6. You embrace your and other’s individuality. You endeavor to give the gift of what you are freely, and without expectation. And in return you receive and respect the gift that others are as well. You know in your heart that the only way to be happy is to be fully yourself.
7. You can think for yourself. When everyone is getting caught up in the latest controversy, scandal or gossip, you can take a step back and resist the urge to jump to premature conclusions or to make impulse decisions.
8. You trust yourself. You’re learning to trust your own heart, your own common sense above all else. Not that you don’t listen to or ask for advice, but you acknowledge that ultimately the real answer has to come from you.
9. You haven’t let the world make you cold: You know the media maxim “If it bleeds, it leads” creates a false impression that the world is completely unsafe and unloving. Despite the violence and despite the hatred, you still care, and you don’t let it stop you from acknowledging the good in the world or from wanting to make a difference.
10. You don’t mind what others think of you. Opinions are like, well, you know—everyone’s got one. And you realize that someone else’s opinion of you tells you infinitely more about them then it does you. You have strong and healthy boundaries. You’re not that concerned with people seeing you a certain way, and because of that you’re naturally more at home with yourself and others.
11. You will defend what deserves to be defended. You’re capable of standing up for your rights or the rights of others, even if you’re in the stark minority. But nor do you browbeat people with your beliefs – you simply stand up for what you feel is right in your heart.