Growing up is often paired with growing apart. But does it have to be that way? (Spoiler: It doesn’t!)

Allowing yourself to grow is one of the most rewarding endeavours you can undertake, but many of us avoid personal development because of how it can change their close relationships.

Or rather, that’s one of the most common excuses, because that’s all it is. There are no good reasons for why we avoid personal development, only excuses we use to avoid the hard work and uncharted territory we must go through while growing.

Personal development and self love should always be priorities in life. While it’s true that personal growth changes your relationships with family and friends, it doesn’t have to mean The End. When personal growth is attained in a healthy way, you can maintain meaningful relationships while improving yourself. In fact, focusing on yourself can also benefit those around you, so it’s win-win!

A key piece in maintaining relationships while we grow is by allowing those relationships to grow along with us. We change over time, so why wouldn’t we expect our relationships to change as well? Here are three factors to keep in mind in order to keep, and even improve, your relationships as you grow.

Open Communication

No matter how obvious it may be, this can never be said enough: If you want any relationship to work, open communication and transparency is a must. Communication becomes even more important when we are growing because we are relearning how we relate to our life overall. We reconnect with what and who we’ve always known, but in a new way.

When our change in perspective isn’t shared openly it can lead to confusion in the relationship and add strain and stress. Even if your relationship is already in a rocky place, allow yourself to be open and extend that olive branch to whomever you want to stay connected with. The beauty of open communication is that it is never too late to start!

While you discover what the changes in your life mean for you, you can also figure out what they mean for your relationships

Respect

Respect comes in many forms, and how we actively choose to express and receive it in our relationships should remain constant while focusing on personal growth. Personal development can become all-encompassing when you begin to make large strides in healing past traumas and uncovering limiting beliefs, but remember to maintain respect of others.

Take the time you need to focus on growing, but when you set aside time to meet up with others respect that they are giving their time for you as well. Share updates as you please about your growth, but don’t monopolize your time together by talking solely about yourself. Recognize and respect the time you have together by doing things you both want to do.

Accepting Other Perspectives

When you’re in the thick of personal development, you’re growing, learning new things, and excited to share all you know. But what happens when what you share isn’t accepted by the other person? Some people may cut ties and choose to find new people who share their same ideals, but this isn’t necessary!

Accepting other perspectives happens when you have confidence in your own beliefs. You don’t need validation from others that you are on the right path because each of our paths are different. In fact, it can be detrimental to your personal growth to end relationships solely over different points of view.

As we grow, we expand and further our knowledge on our specific interests so maintaining relationships with others who don’t see the same way as us can actually help to build critical thinking and tolerance of others. This is because we are challenged to think in ways we wouldn’t normally and need to find new ways to connect with others.

A Lifestyle Change

A truth of personal development is that it brings about changes in your lifestyle. I’ve been sharing ways to ensure your relationships grow along with you, but the truth is there are some relationships that are meant to end. You may outgrow toxic relationships, or possibly just have relationships that fade. The end of a relationship does not have to be negative, though.

As long as we keep open communication, respect and acceptance of other perspectives in mind we will always be able to find a positive connection with others, even if it’s to acknowledge we are meant to walk separate paths going forward.

No matter what happens, focusing on growing and loving yourself is never the wrong choice. Even if some relationships fade, you will find new connections that are genuine and will form the foundation for positive support as you continue your self-improvement journey. So here’s to growing together, and not apart!

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