Elsewhere on this site, it reads: ‘human flourishing, through self-expression, is a great asset and should be among the main objectives in a human life’. If we look closely, we see that everything around us is aimed at flourishing. Not only as a given in nature, with flowers and plants, but also in inanimate objects: thriving businesses, clubs, cities, and economies. Even our sun once flourished until it will die of old age.
People are therefore focused on personal growth in many different circumstances. As a musician, artist, or athlete; within a family, business, or politics: for themselves, for others, or for no one in particular. The possibilities are endless. In all these situations, it’s about finding purpose. If one enjoys a particular type of work, personal growth has a chance. People also find their growth in spirituality to fully experience meaning. They study wisdom, they practice it, and they may even teach it.
Flourishing makes life meaningful, allows us to experience happiness and love, and is of incomparable greatness that our human mind and its psyche need to stay healthy.
We can consciously experience our personal growth thanks to our human nature that allows us to perceive in a way other creatures cannot: reflectively. We can see whether we are flourishing or not. We can feel if we are flourishing or not. We have self-reflection. We can perceive whether we find purpose in work and other situations or not. We can also observe it in others.
Without a certain degree of flourishing, we feel unfulfilled. At some point, we lose interest, and frustration lurks, or worse… a feeling of meaninglessness.
The purpose of life is to flourish in what we excel at. If we no longer believe in a life that finds fulfillment in self-expression and self-realization, then what are we living for?
We live optimally when we live and work according to ‘how we are meant to be’. And ‘how we are meant to be’, and in which direction we seek our growth, is actually already determined in our innate individual essence, because from birth our talents that serve us throughout our life are already present. But also our limitations that define our talent.
Our innate talents are the palette of possibilities and potential from which our personal growth emerges, and this growth can take many forms that are not yet determined at birth. Because that is determined by what we encounter from our early life onwards. If the ability to improvise is one of our talents from birth, it’s not yet determined how this will manifest. It could be in music or art, or in running a business, but it can also be expressed in healthcare. Anything is possible.
Our innate limitations determine the boundaries of our talents. Unfortunately… sometimes we wish not only to have more talent for something but also fewer limitations. Some have talent for a sport but never reach the top, no matter how hard they try. Some have a talent for imagination and creativity but can’t write a book. There are people with perfect pitch who never become great composers.
What influences our growth are the people and situations we encounter as young individuals that inspire us to move in a certain direction. Synchronicity certainly plays a role. Something comes our way, and we feel an attraction and enthusiasm for something ‘new’. If it’s a person, then that person is often seen as a role model and inspirer. If it’s a situation, then that situation becomes pivotal for where we want to go, for something we also want to achieve.
However, it can also happen that we only discover our talents at a later age, simply because we did not come into contact with the right circumstances or people, the right ‘direction-givers’. And it also happens that the opportunity only arises because another situation was no longer demanding or a certain form of flourishing no longer satisfied, for whatever reason.
The ability to flourish in a certain area is largely determined by innate talents and affinities. Education should be focused on this. Our growth gets its form, content, and level from the opportunities offered within upbringing and education, and by the situations and people we ‘meet’ and who inspire us. Hopefully, we encounter these sources of inspiration on time; synchronicity in circumstances is essential here, so that growth can ideally be realized from a young age: through passion, through enthusiasm, through study, and by doing what’s necessary. When we flourish in self-expression, unity is observed in our spirit because all its aspects align. When we achieve unity in our spirit, it naturally leads to flourishing self-expression in any field. We achieve this unity by getting to know ourselves and seeing what we are ‘meant’ for. And by discovering within ourselves what hinders that unity.
What We Strive For
We hopefully won’t face too many personal limitations in our growth, or boundaries of it, otherwise, we might become disappointed in our abilities and lose the joy in them. These limitations can be physical, as with athletes (my body doesn’t do what I want), but also mental (I can’t keep up anymore) or emotional (my passion falls short). Then our initial craving and enthusiasm might turn into a feeling of frustration or failure and negative perceptions about ourselves. And then ‘we don’t feel like it anymore’ because it would be ‘pointless’. This means we are no longer flourishing…
As children, in naive unconsciousness – by the example of parents and other adults – we learned early on to identify with various things. Identification was considered good, or at least normal. Strong identification, therefore, plays a part when we start things that will realize our growth. There’s nothing wrong with that in itself. This identification, with a person or genre, gives a massive boost of energy! We go for it! We feel super motivated. We have found a purpose to live for. It makes us happy, and we want to engage with it as much as possible. ‘This is it,’ we think, feeling the need to follow and expand on this.
However, identifications work both ways. They can also be very demotivating. For example, when it comes to our limitations that become visible at some point. But also infamous is the identification with what essentially should be a ‘secondary matter’ that causes us to lose sight of the main issue. This is identification with something that will hinder our growth. We usually don’t notice this, or we notice too late. We were not taught to stay awake and conscious from our relatively ‘pure’ childhood. We’ve only learned to get to work without relativization and with strong identifications. This way, without knowing or noticing, or without someone timely pointing it out, we can become our own ‘adversary’ in our growth.
Such a hindering identification is now often seen in young people. They want to become fáamous in music quite quickly, and this identification with ‘wanting prestige and wealth’ obstructs the original craving to make music in a fantastic way. This leads to a lot of disappointment, should the fame not materialize.
As unclear, but often oh-so creative individuals, we retain all those identification misconceptions that obstruct our own ‘intended path’ of our essence. We do this to ourselves. So, we can also stop it ourselves if we learn to see how and why these misconceptions arose. We can become awake and conscious, and then growth becomes self-evident.