The 6 Types of Personal Growth

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Chronological Growth

Everyone ages at the same chronological rate. You grow older every minute and every day. Chronological age is determined at birth and cannot be altered. You add another year to your age with each calendar year.

Our culture has done much to form our attitudes toward age. The advertising industry and mass media make youth look appealing. Young people are pictured as having fun and being successful. The image of aging people in today’s world has taken on a more positive picture from that of previous generations. Today this age group is often portrayed as enjoying an active and abundant life. How you feel about your aging will affect your personality throughout your life.

Physical Growth

The physical growth of humans follows the same general pattern from childhood through puberty and adulthood. Changes in physical growth may happen at different times for different people, but the sequence of the basic changes will be the same. Physical growth is the easiest to observe. For instance, by age three, children are twice as tall and four times as heavy as they were at birth. This rate of growth slows down and then remains steady until about the age of ten.

At puberty, the growth rates of boys and girls begin to differ. Puberty is the time when the body changes from that of a boy or girl to that of a man or woman. This sudden growth and change is triggered by the pituitary gland at the base of the brain. This gland secretes hormones that affect other parts of the body. At puberty, hormones from the pituitary gland stimulate the sex glands. The sex glands then produce other hormones that cause changes in bodies of boys and girls.

The age at which puberty begins varies. Most girls reach puberty at about age 12. Most boys reach puberty two years later, at about age 14. At puberty a girl grows rapidly in height and weight. Her hip cage widens, her breasts enlarge, and she begins her menstrual cycle. Hair appears in the pubic region, under the armpits, and on her legs. A boy also undergoes many physical changes during puberty. He grows rapidly in height, his nick thickens and broadens, his shoulders widen, and his waist narrows. His muscles develop rapidly, and his strength virtually doubles between the ages of 12 and 16. His vocal cords lengthen, causing squeaks as his voce deepens. Hair appears on his body, especially on his face and in the pubic region.

Physical growth is hardly noticeable in adulthood. Adults rarely grow in height, although they often gain weight. The body of an adult works to maintain itself rather than to grow in size.

Your response to your physical growth affects your personality development. You may be taller, shorter, heavier, or thinner than the average person. You may have reached physical maturity earlier or later than others. If you can accept your physical traits and growth pattern, this will have a positive effect on your personality.

Intellectual Growth

We inherit our potential for intelligence. However, we all grow differently in this area based on our environment and our response to that environment.

A person born with a high potential for intelligence can fail to be motivated and this never develop a sharper mind. A person who has an average potential for intelligence can study hard and work hard to become successful – even in a career that requires a great deal of intelligence.

Environment can influence intelligence in other ways, too. Nutritious food and adequate rest and exercise make you feel better and allow you to learn more. Your family, friends, and school provide many opportunities for new learning experiences. Such experiences include everything from family talks, to a day out with friends, to a part in a school play. Every time you see something, read something, or talk with someone, you have the chance to expand your intellectual growth.

If you respond positively to your inherited potential and to the opportunities your environment offers you, you can increase your intellectual growth. This is probably the greatest step toward personal independence you can take. Intelligence gives you the capability to function well in the world around you.

Emotional Growth

Your emotions are your feelings. These feelings are often revealed to those around you through different behaviors. Many emotions are expressed outwardly for all to see. Babies who are unhappy may cry uncontrollably. Happy children may laugh excitedly. Teens may be sullen and retiring when they feel sad. Other emotions are kept inside or suppressed, invisible to family and friends.

Emotional growth refers to the continuing refinement of emotions or mental states that causes and individual to act in a certain way. Each person has a unique timetable for learning to control and express emotions. Some people are emotionally mature at a fairly young age. ON the other hand, some people act like children in the way they handle their emotions even after they become adults.

How you handle your emotions will be an indication of your emotional maturity. During your teen years you will experience many emotions. You may also notice that your emotions change rapidly. You may be happy and excited one minute and sad and depressed the next. This is normal. The important thing is that you recognize these emotional shifts and learn to manage them to help you live an effective life. You also need to learn to express your emotions and to not keep them bottled up inside. This, too, is a part of growing emotionally.

Another part of emotional growth is learning the best way to respond to emotional situations. For instance, if you feel anger toward someone, you will find a way to resolve this anger without using hurtful words or violent behavior. You may try mentally counting to ten rather than yelling out words you might regret later. You may even suggest that you both calm down and talk about the problem again when you aren’t so upset. Learning to handle your feelings and actions in ways that are acceptable to others will help your grow emotionally.

Social Growth

You also grow socially as you learn to relate to others around you. This growth begins at an early age. Babies smile when parents or caregivers “talk” to them. Children first play alone, and then they learn the fun of playing with others. As a teen you are opening up new avenues for social growth. This will continue throughout your life.

In your family you learn to grow in your roles as a child, son or daughter, and brother or sister as you pass through different stages of social growth. You grow from self-centeredness to being considerate of others. You learn to share and to take turns. You learn to listen to the views of others.

In your community you learn what is acceptable as a pattern for social behavior. These experiences in a social setting help you meet new people and learn behaviors that are acceptable and unacceptable. You mature socially as you adopt standards of responsibility for living in an organized society. You learn to adopt as your own the rules and guidelines that allow a society to function for the benefit of all.

Philosophical Growth

As you grow philosophically, you may search for deeper meaning and purpose in your life. You are learning to study truth and knowledge using reflective thinking and reasoned inquiry. As a child you related to specific objects. As a teen you are thinking more abstractly of things you cannot see or feel.

Questions such as “Who are you?” “Where you from?” and “Where are you going?” were easy to answer when you were young. You simply stated your name, the city in which you lived, and the place you were going – to school, home or to the store. As you grow philosophically, you sense there are other ways to answer these questions. You begin to think more deeply about whom you are, why you are here, and your goals for life.

Young people are looking for a sense of direction. They are also trying to gain deeper insight into other people and the world around them.

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