While it’s true that we are all constantly learning and growing, it’s important to remember that evolution most certainly isn’t linear. It’s up, down, and round and round.
Please know that it’s completely normal to question if you are actually making progress or simply treading water, trying not to get sucked under.
Even amid the most extreme feelings of stagnation, remember that life is a series of twists and turns with you as the main character. Despite the fact that some plotlines might not feel obvious, know that you are growing.
Sometimes, the more subtle signs of development and expansion can get overlooked.
So if you are feeling stuck in a rut and unsure about your progress, here are 9 unmistakable signs that you are, in fact, evolving — even when it might not feel like it.
1) Increased self-awareness
The fact that you know you are stuck is a sure sign of your increasing self-awareness.
As you evolve, you become more perceptive to your inner workings. Your thoughts, emotions, and patterns of behavior no longer slip past unnoticed.
Being self-aware is not an excuse to criticize or self-sabotage.
Go gently as you explore your unfolding. You are being empowered to make better choices and navigate the ocean of life with greater clarity.
2) Embracing change
They say that all the good stuff happens just outside your comfort zone.
And, whoever they are, they’re right.
It’s a sign of evolution if you start to notice sparks of curiosity developing for new experiences, ideas, and perspectives.
Staying the same is what creates stagnation. We need inspiration to push us to try scary things and to reach higher for what we want.
It can definitely feel quite wobbly and destabilizing to let go of familiar routines. They’ve probably been a safety net for quite some time.
But the rewards you get from embracing your courage and venturing out into the unknown will last your whole lifetime.
So, go forth into unchartered territory, expand your horizons, and broaden your experience and understanding of the world you live in.
3) Resilience in the face of challenges
It’s impossible to avoid all of life’s obstacles. Sometimes it can feel like running the gauntlet with one issue popping up after another.
It can get really tiring; I feel you.
How you handle the difficult times speaks volumes about your personal growth. I would bet you are finding yourself bouncing back from adversity with more determination.
Rather than deflating when faced with a setback, you’ll see them as an opportunity for growth. If one attempt didn’t work, reassess and try again with new insights.
4) Embracing self-care
Don’t fall into the temptation to work yourself to the bone or keep saying yes to favors for friends even when you are running on empty.
Allow yourself the time to be alone to nurture yourself and your own needs.
You know you’ve embraced self-care:
- When you know that taking a night in for yourself isn’t an act of selfishness
- When you know that you need time to recharge
- When you know that when you fill your own cup, it’s a joy to help others fill theirs
Taking care of yourself is absolutely not selfish — it’s an essential aspect of personal growth and should be celebrated not frowned upon.
If you find yourself prioritizing self-care and nurturing your physical, mental, and emotional well-being, then you’re well ahead on the path of evolution.
I like to think of self-care as treating yourself like a precious seedling, working out what you need to grow, and giving yourself the nourishment necessary for your blossoming.
Self-care can look like setting healthy boundaries, practicing mindfulness, or engaging in activities that make your heart sing. It’s not all bubble baths and curling up with ice cream — although that is actually really good.
5) Seeking knowledge and growth
When you are in a period of stagnation, do you naturally gravitate toward new knowledge?
If so, then please be assured that you are evolving.
Having a thirst for new perspectives, ancient wisdom, and exciting discoveries is a sign of personal evolution. It signifies one of the key elements of expansion — a growth mindset.
Having a growth mindset will drive you to constantly search for ways to improve yourself. It might be through self-development books or talks and seminars from people who are where you want to be in life.
Success leaves clues, and following the knowledge of those who have walked the path before us can offer new opportunities to expand and develop.
6) Letting go of toxic relationships
Most of us have one or two relationships in our lives that don’t feel all that great or nurturing to our spirits. You know, the friend that is stuck in a negative loop or someone who constantly puts you down.
Your evolution will make you more discerning about the relationships in your life. And being stuck will actually heighten this awareness.
Surrounding yourself with positive, supportive individuals who uplift and inspire you is especially important during stagnant phases.
It’s not easy to let go of toxic relationships. But it is necessary.
There is nothing wrong with prioritizing your well-being or creating distance from relationships that feel like a negative drain. In fact, it will light your way to healthier connections and deeper personal transformations.
7) Embracing authenticity
Being anyone other than yourself is exhausting. When you find yourself wanting to drop the masks and societal expectations, you are definitely evolving.
Personal growth is inextricably linked with becoming more comfortable in your own skin and losing the fear of authentic expression.
This means speaking up when you don’t agree with something.
It means letting out your inner weirdo and knowing you are loved and accepted.
It means living in alignment with your core values, no matter what the outside world tries to project on you.
Sometimes, those stuck feelings happen right as we are about to embrace our uniqueness more fully. Learning how to speak our truth allows us to live lives that are true to who we really are inside.
8) Celebrating progress, no matter how small
In a world where the big shiny things are celebrated, and the smaller wins go unnoticed, it’s oh-so easy to get caught up in the race to achieve more and more and more.
But grand achievements don’t mean much if you’ve sacrificed your integrity to get there.
Once you start the journey of personal evolution, you’ll start seeing and appreciating each step, regardless of how small it is.
Not all growth is visible.
Sometimes the most significant moments of self-development happen inside, quietly and gently, without any fanfare at all. It’s essential to see these moments and celebrate them.
You might take a walk in the park thinking about your new discovery. You might journal about all the new things you’ve learned along your self-development journey.
Just keep taking the steps, even though it can feel like wading through mud sometimes. I promise that even the stickiest patches are bringing you closer to your best self.
You’ll never be a finished thing. Personal growth is the journey of a lifetime, and it’s completely normal to feel stuck. But, if you’ve resonated with what I’ve written here, trust that you are still evolving.
Stick with the process; it’s not linear. Not even slightly.
It’s more like a giant scribble on the canvas of life. But when you take a step back and embrace the subtle transformations happening with you, you’ll realize you’ve created a masterpiece.