12 Signs You've Grown: Inner Peace Breakthroughs

Photo by Denys Nevozhai from Unsplash

In your twenties, it’s without a doubt that you’ll experience those rare inner peace breakthroughs that make you change your perspective about life. When that time comes, you’ll reaffirm that age doesn’t truly determine maturity. It comes with experience and reflection that you’ll realize you’ve grown.

With this being said, what are the instances that make you grow? What are the signs that can make you say you’ve grown wiser? And when you indeed encounter these exceptional moments of your life, what do you do about it? Is this a once-in-a-lifetime moment, or do you intend to instill and share these insights to your family and friends? As you’re still on the starting line, you may not be totally convinced with your plans right now, you’ll realize what you’re yearning for what can’t be bought with money.




When you were in high school, other people’s opinions (especially from your so-called friends and silent enemies) significantly influenced almost everything you did. You had a hundred problems but one of them was thinking about what they might say about your choices. From the way you dressed, the group of friends you chose, the clubs you signed up in, the way you behaved — your decisions weren’t entirely yours. They had something to do about it one way or another. That’s probably the bottom-line between having either the best or the worst high school experience ever.

There are even times when you declined a wonderful opportunity or made a bad mistake that caused you to go to the principal’s office to please “them.” Your world revolved around fitting in or gossiping with your friend about girls who loved to gather all the attention when boys were around. Then one day (not necessarily after you graduate though), you just stop caring about anybody else’s opinion because you finally realize it doesn’t matter. You finally made up your mind about committing to a decision because that’s what you wanted.

You stopped caring less about how they feel and more about how this would benefit you. You began deciphering who your real friends were (if there was ever any) and cherished them more by narrowing your circle. Now you laugh at yourself for thinking your social life would be over after leaving the pack full of fake friends in high school. Now you feel freer as you fight for your choices and be happy when you make them, but even if you don’t, you’re content. It’s only now you realize that you shouldn’t give them the power to dictate your life if they don’t care about you or your well-being. 



That’s a sign of growth.




Back then, you were too vulnerable to people and appeal directly to their kindness and soft-spoken gestures as you were taught. You put your trust in people whom you barely know but offered you a little money when you had none. You put your faith in a person who defended you in front of a big clan of bullies in school even you didn’t know him.

But you believed he was a good person because he helped you. You attract kindness strongly like a magnet. You gave into the seemingly beautiful things in life without caution. You allowed yourself to be exposed to cunning people. But as you grow older, you learn to see through a person and his many personalities. You learn to see a person through his intentions and think a hundred times if they’re true even in the slightest way. You learn to accept that people don’t seem the way they are.

You realize that people change all the time and you can’t determine a person’s attitude only on a good day but also on the worst ones. You realize trust is too precious for you to give it to anyone else. You realize you’ve been gullible, sensitive, and stupid. You realize you’ve not taken care of yourself very well because you allow it to be hurt by people who didn’t hold you valuable. You finally decide enough is enough. 



That’s a sign of growth.




It wasn’t a long time ago when you were hell-bent on proving to everyone you were different from the rest. Every day you never stopped showing to people (whom you don’t like at all but you seem to be desperate to gain their approval) that you deserve their attention and praise. You wanted to have it all. In your eyes, the world was like a battlefield and you were always at war. Jealousy, insecurity, self-pity — these have been always part of the equation. And these terrible feelings, they never left you because you never let go of them.

Most times, you went too far, constantly hating on your contenders, especially when they were your friends. You went to great lengths to get what you want even to the extent of preying on other people’s weaknesses and bringing joy to their misfortunes. At night you plan your strategies and in the morning you study them more. Winning meant so much to you. It has become your life. But as you grow older, you stop. Eventually, you realize you’re chasing something draining on all accounts. Eventually, you realize you’re slowly becoming somebody you’re not. You choose to stop winning because you’re mature enough to pick your battles.

You ponder on the fact that winning doesn’t feel good all the time. You realize you can still be a winner even without comparing yourself to them. You still compete but now you know your limits. You learn to play with the rules and not cheat your way to the ladder of success. Now, you learn to see other people for their gifts and give them the spotlight they deserve. You give them a chance to grow in their craft without snatching it away from them. Now, you developed a new, fulfilling relationship with losing and not getting what you want. You learn to see the bigger picture.

You accept the fact that sometimes when you always win, your pride skyrockets up to the moon and somehow you forget to keep your feet on the ground. Sometimes, being the best at something isn’t worth losing yourself for. You’re sick of being in mid-air and not feeling contented with all your successes because you’re not yourself as you achieve them. You realize you want to please everyone but yourself. You decide you don’t want to feel that feeling ever again. 



That’s a sign of growth.




When you were young, you used to put on a façade every single day. You wore a different one depending on the people you’re with at the moment. On some days, you wore to man, and most of the time you lost count. Nevertheless, you continued to put them on like they’re a part of your skin. You thought the friends you chose would never like you for the way you are. 
Finding friends and sticking by them was a tiring journey for you because they weren’t true to you at all like how you weren’t true to them.

You saw making friends as a transaction rather than a genuine building of relationships. You saw friends as people you could seek happiness from or use them in your times of need. You put on different masks for every single version your friends bring out. But as you grow older, you realize you weren’t being yourself for almost your whole life. You get tired and you realize you were faking your way to life. You got exhausted because you were not being your true self.

You put up a front because you want people to like you for being someone else. Then you realize you had enough and choose to take it off forever, exposing your true colors. You finally decide to be yourself even if they wouldn’t like you for you. You finally realize the true value of friends and you don’t force friendships to happen if they were never meant for you. Now, you’re kinder to yourself. 



That’s a sign of growth.




Before it’s like all of the world needs to suit the way you want it to. You only think about yourself and everything that happens around you has to meet your approval. The people in your life need to bend over backward to see you smile. Otherwise, you unleash hell on them. Then reality slaps you so hard, your head would spin out of utter embarrassment. You think to yourself, “You selfish little piece of shit. There’s more to life than what you feel.” 



The guilt starts to consume you. You start feeling bad for only caring about yourself and only yourself. You realize you’ve spent years making others’ life a living hell because you want to take so much but give so little. You expect people to bow down for you like you’re some queen in a castle. Then one day, you decide to give your friend your lunch money because she needed it. 



You’re hungry too but probably not as hungry as her. You give it to her without asking for the money back. For once, you decide to think of others besides yourself. You decide to think about their needs first than yours. You allowed yourself to sacrifice for the benefit of other people. You never did that before, but now you have, and you’re happy. 



That’s a sign of growth. 




We all have a bad habit of chasing after people even if we don’t know what exactly it is we’re chasing for. We want to have what they have. We want to be with people. We want to learn what they learn. But no matter how pure our intentions are and how kind our approaches are, they’ll just keep finding a reason not to like us. That’s a question we will never know the answer to. They don’t realize we see their flaws too but love them regardless.

We expect an equal reciprocation but we never get one. Then as you grow up you just get tired of it. You get tired of feeling like a beggar asking for alms for people who don’t even pity us. We keep asking for love from people who don’t have it inside them. Or maybe they have but there’s nothing for us. Then you just stop chasing them. You stop pining over them. You stop waiting for them to open their doors for us while the rain’s pouring and you have no cardigan.

Then you realize what a stupid fool you are for fighting for a love that ends up unreciprocated. The reason you kept failing on that career or from making ends meet between that person is that it’s not meant for you at all. Sometimes that constant disappointment you feel is more than a warning sign; it’s a manifestation of the pain you’re gonna feel once you force to enter into territory you have no power over.



That’s a sign of growth.




Back in high school, you thought you could get whatever you want if you fought so hard for them. If you put in many efforts and dedication to be in that particular place, you would get there. You once thought that you were too perfect and irresistible for people to deny you opportunities. You thought you were  the best of the best and you could take something as easily as walking along the pavements.

You thought it took the defiance of gravity to achieve what you want. But now, you realize the earlier you accept that the world works differently than how you want it, the sooner you invest your time and energy in things that are within your reach. Unlike before, you no longer feel the urge to force relationships, opportunities, people simply because you can’t.

You learn that you can’t  force people to like you or love you, and asking for the bare minimum would mean hurting yourself. You don’t waste any more time and energy whining and complaining because you’ve accepted the truth. You learn to master the art of acceptance and serenity. You learn to realize that whatever’s meant for you is always meant for you. Finally, you’re at peace. 



That’s a sign of growth.




Before you want everybody to know what you’ve been up to: your plans, what your parents got for you on your 16th birthday, your new hottie partner you met. Before you want everybody to know every little good thing happening in your life because you want to flaunt what you have and they don’t. You want to make them jealous. You want to let them feel you’re superior to them. You want to be on top of the high school superiority ladder. You want to be in. You want to be the trendsetter, the talk of the town. You want to be known for a lot of things.

But as you grow older, you realize you’ve wasted almost half of your life impressing people you don’t even like only to get temporary attention. At the end of the day, you realize you want inner peace among all. You want to be alone and at the same time be an open book. You want to be open so people can see right through you and you don’t want to keep secrets anymore. You want to be transparent and not be burdened with the weight of secrets and insecurities. What they assume is their problem. 



That’s a sign of growth.




As you were a kid, you thought you could easily get what you want with a snap of a finger. While you smash the door on the way out with a couple of crocodile tears at the side, you get that brand new toy of a cartoon character. You grew up spoiled and pampered and tolerated every day because you’re still a kid and that means you get a pass.

But as you grow older, you get to experience first-hand that the world is the complete opposite. People aren’t gonna give you what you want all the time. You need to go through the struggle and dive into the pain. You need to bleed before you get to cover your wounds. Sometimes it pays off but sometimes it doesn’t. You accept that. 



That’s a sign of growth.




Before, you were more likely to stress and beating yourself with all the guilt. You constantly felt like the weight of the world was on your shoulders because you thought you had to take accountability for all the other problems in the world. But it’s not yours to take. Back then, you told yourself you’re useless because you didn’t do anything to extend help.

You destroy your self-esteem because you thought you weren’t deserving enough to have a friend. You were mad at yourself for not doing the best you can to protect your loved ones from pain. Now that you’re wiser, you learn to choose which battles are yours to take. You realize your worth and decide to associate yourself with problems that are worth your time. You don’t beat yourself filling yourself with worry about what others blame you for.

You learn to detach yourself from pests who exploit you fully and unmercifully. You learn to realize you’re not meant to carry all the problems of the world. You learn to accept that your means to help can only go a long way, but your kindness can go to miles and miles. You accept that sometimes you don’t have to help. 



That’s a sign of growth.




When you were young, you grew up always feeling the need to explain yourself after every decision. You grew up thinking your decisions defined you, especially the bad ones. You grew up insecure and scared to fight for your own choices because of how others would see you. You thought you had to constantly give them a plausible explanation for everything you did, and it has to be a good one. You thought that by breaking the norm or choosing to walk on a different path, you owed people a reason why you had to do it even if they didn’t deserve one.

You thought every single choice required their approval. You grew up believing you couldn’t fulfill your dreams without their help (even when they couldn’t be of the slightest help anyway). You were sick of it. After doing so much to prove a point, you realize that people can only understand and respond to you according to the degree of knowledge and perspective they have. The playing field will never be equal and they can only be as much help to you as you allow them to be. You’re always gonna disagree and fight and sometimes you just get tired to push and insist on your points to them.

You insist on what you believe in not knowing what the true purpose is. Do you want to insist on what you believe in to impose your beliefs on others? To persuade them? To make them realize they’re wrong? Or only to prove a point that you’re right? Whatever it is, you realize you can’t change people with a snap of a finger. You may be able to convince them soon enough but it depends on them if they’re willing to accept the change. It has to happen organically. 


That’s a sign of growth.




Way back, you tend to look at situations only for what they seem. You based your decisions on first impressions and what other people might have to say (even when you don’t truly believe or understand them). You simply loved to hop on the bandwagon and be on the more popular team. You had no clear nor firm stand about a dilemma. You were lukewarm and unable to pick a principle and live by it. You didn’t think there were reasons for people to do such things. You didn’t think people could change.

You didn’t think of all the other possibilities. You gained confidence only from your limited and narrow point of view, refusing to accept other people’s thinking. You thought you were always right and anything contradictory to your thinking was wrong. You were arrogant, naïve, and close-minded. Now that you’ve grown, you see things from a newer perspective. These views may be influenced by your parents, peers, or even from the movie you recently watched, but this time you realize that there are a lot of angles and versions to approach a problem.

You learn that just because you’re right, that doesn’t mean the other is wrong. You learn that people can have their opinions and still be good friends with you. You learn to accept that we are all different people who come from different walks of life. You realize that it takes respect and ethics to form a mutual relationship of understanding with people. Back then, you judge on hearsays, rumors, and documented evidence without proper contexts, but now you learn to ask for the right questions. You learn to hold your tongue before saying anything that might hurt the other person. You no longer think there are only two versions of the story. You know better now. 



That’s a sign of growth. 



“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”

Jane Goodall 

Published by Monique Renegado

Monique started Life Begins At Twenty as a 20-year-old college student from the Philippines. In her lifestyle and wellness blog, she shares first-hand experiences and soulful advice about student life, relationships, mental health, adulting, and self-growth. Monique is passionate about literature, music, public speaking, and family. Besides studying and blogging full-time, she strives hard to become a published author with her first YA fiction novel and poems. Monique is the older sister you wish you had to help you navigate your twenties successfully. If you want a constant drive for motivation and pep talks, be a part of her journey.

4 thoughts on “12 Signs You've Grown: Inner Peace Breakthroughs

  1. It's a great post. We all do mistakes; but if we don't learn from it then there is no growth, as you wrote in you posts at so many points. You have wonderful insights about growing up, and building a positive attitude towards life. I wish you all the best!


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