Social Circumstances and its Connection to Personal Growth

By Elisa Furlan

reviewed by Amadou barrow

The way we socialize can be influenced by our personal growth. Personal growth is a concept connected to hedonic and eudaimonic wellbeing: it includes enjoyable experiences, positive effects in the here and now, and a focus on development and fulfilment.

Personal growth, in the work context, is associated with two ideas:

  • Thriving: having the opportunity to learn new skills and gain knowledge on different topics, as well as experiencing bursts of energy and liveliness. Thriving is possible thanks to the work environment and one’s own resources, both social and personal.
  • Flourishing: possible when you’re in a high state of mental health, flourishing refers to feeling satisfied, interested, and accepted by others.

 

People with high personal growth initiative are more likely to efficiently manage stress and challenges, and adjust to new environments better and experience fewer psychological problems, such as anxiety and depression.

How do we promote personal growth?

Personal growth can be influenced by, and linked to, a variety of different factors.

  • Interpersonal processes: personal growth is considered an outcome of interpersonal factors, such as how people connect with each other and their relationships. Studies have shown that personal growth is associated with positive experiences at work. For example, participants from a study rather chose a job that promoted personal growth than one with a higher salary, if beforehand they had been reminded about their supportive friend at the workplace. Moreover, not only did two other studies confirm the results from the first study, but they also showed that the results wouldn’t change depending on the cultural setting. In fact, the two studies showed that people’s perceptions of how supportive their close ones are influenced personal growth in two cultures, regardless of the emphasis either culture put on individual or collective growth.

 

  • Social self-efficacy: self-efficacy is the belief that you’re able to perform a specific task. It has a great impact on our choices, performance, and persistence if we believe we’re able to face a challenge. In fact, people with high self-efficacy put more effort into solving their problems when faced with demanding situations and are therefore more likely to successfully overcome them. A 2017 study, conducted on 188 international graduate students studying abroad, investigated the correlation between social self-efficacy and personal growth initiative. Results assessed by an online questionnaire proved that there’s a positive correlation between these two factors, meaning that believing in your own social skills contributes to your personal growth.

 

  • Personal growth intervention: a 2018 study conducted on 84 professionals in the education field investigated the effects of an intervention on personal growth initiative. The participants took part in two workshops:
    • The first one focused on the discovery of one’s own strengths. The participants were asked to reflect on what motivates them and gives them energy. Moreover, they were asked to make a strategic plan to improve their own strengths in the following four weeks.
    • The second workshop, which took place four weeks after the first one, focused on assessing the effectiveness of the plan they had made. The participants were also asked to analyze the daily tasks they had set and create another strategic plan for further developing their strengths. Results showed an increase in self-efficacy levels after participating in the workshops, as well as an increase in personal growth initiative, meaning that the people were more likely to reach their goals, as well as master any negative experiences.

 

  • Lucid Dreaming: this is the ability to be fully aware whilst dreaming. Lucid dreaming is associated with two practices: dream journaling — writing down all of your dreams and experiences while sleeping, and analyzing them afterwards — and reality checking — a psychotherapeutic process by which you can separate what happens in the real world and what happens in your mind. A recent study conducted on 32 undergraduates investigated the correlation between lucid dreaming and personal growth. Although results didn’t prove that one improves the other, the participants who were trained in lucid dreaming had higher levels of life satisfaction and better self-esteem, as well as lower stress.

 

As we’ve seen throughout this article, personal growth is a wide and complex process. Although it may not be easy to achieve, taking things one step at a time can be the key to reach all your goals.

Elisa Furlan
I am a positive and enthusiastic writer with an enormous passion for books. I am mostly interested in the fields of equal rights, global environment, and justice. I believe in the power of words: everything we know, we know because we read about it, heard it on the news, or someone told us – it is all connected to words. Contributing to change this world – the one and only one we will ever know – is a privilege as well as a duty: everyone can write something on the internet, especially these days; not everyone, though, can communicate effectively. It is my goal to help this world change, word by word.

Amadou Barrow

My areas of expertise center around climate change and global health; Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH); environmental and occupational health; health education and promotion; and health risk communications. I have experience as a lecturer at both university level in the area of health psychology, health education & promotion, water supply & sanitation, biostatistics, epidemiology and research methodology. I have published several scientific manuscripts in various reputable journals on maternal & child health morbidities and mortalities in LMIC settings. I am a passionate digital health enthusiast with a special focus on holistic wellbeing at all levels.

Çankaya, E. M., Dong, X., & Liew, J. (2017). An examination of the relationship between social self-efficacy and personal growth initiative in international context. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 61, 88–96. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijintrel.2017.10.001 

Hommelhoff, S., Schröder, C., & Niessen, C. (2020). The experience of personal growth in different career stages: An exploratory study. Organisationsberatung, Supervision, Coaching, 27(1), 5–19. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11613-020-00634-y 

Konkoly, K., & Burke, C. T. (2019). Can learning to lucid dream promote personal growth? Dreaming, 29(2), 113–126. https://doi.org/10.1037/drm0000101 

Lee, D. S., Ybarra, O., Gonzalez, R., & Ellsworth, P. (2017). I-Through-We: How Supportive Social Relationships Facilitate Personal Growth. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 44(1), 37–48. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167217730371

van Woerkom, M., & Meyers, M. C. (2018). Strengthening personal growth: The effects of a strengths intervention on personal growth initiative. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 92(1), 98–121. https://doi.org/10.1111/joop.12240 

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