When I wanted to quit my career and focus on my personal development, I begged my husband to be as obsessed with personal growth as I was. I convinced myself that I just wanted to help each of us grow, but when I dug deeper, I realized that I had a lot of self-doubts, and I was too scared to be on my journey alone, for fear of failure. Let’s just say, when I tried to force him to be as gung-ho as I was, it did NOT go well.
I bet that if you’re even thinking about personal development in a committed relationship, you’re probably in a similar boat. That’s why I wanted to devote an episode of the Monica Chats podcast to the topic.
After this episode, the weight of responsibility to help each other grow and focusing on self-improvement in your relationship will lift. You’ll see that you can keep going on your personal development journey and not need your partner to be as invested in it as you are.
Let’s get started by seeing why you really want them to be committed to helping each of you grow.
Challenge WHY You Need Them to be as Committed as You
Are you basing your success on your circumstances, making it easier on you… including your partner?
When you wait for things to be “right” you give your power away to everything outside you. Like when you wait for the “right” time, the “right” way, or the “right” person. Self-empowerment is a popular topic nowadays, but it’s more than just telling the patriarchy to screw itself. Empowerment literally means to “give authority or power to someone to do something.”
For millennia, women have been told that we need to wait to take action on anything. But in today’s world, we don’t need to wait for someone to give us the authority to improve our lives. So, while I know you want to help each other grow, dig deep to see if you’re actually just waiting for permission from your partner to take action on your personal growth.
A great way to do this is to ask yourself challenging questions and get really honest with your answers. Here are a few questions I suggest:
- Am I ok with continuing to grow even if my partner prefers for me to stay the same? Why or why not?
- If personal growth in a relationship is important to me but isn’t to them, am I willing to keep going even if it’s harder? Am I worth the extra effort?
These types of deep digging questions are going to challenge your view on your self-worth, but this is good! The more you can prove to yourself that you’re worth the effort to grow, no matter what the circumstances, the easier it will be to focus on self-improvement.
If you want to help each other grow just to hold you accountable, I’d be pretty annoyed if I were your partner, too.
Think about it like this, being responsible for whether or not someone grows is A LOT to take on. It’s like you’re putting all the heavy lifting of transformation on your partner. That’s a lot of pressure.
As humans, we’re designed to avoid things that are painful or make us nervous or put on a ton of pressure. When you think about it like that, it’s no wonder why your partner isn’t as involved with helping each other grow as you are. They don’t want to be the reason why you do or don’t focus on yourself.
But what about if you do want to focus on helping each other grow because you really want to see them grow? Don’t worry; we’ll get into that next.
People are more motivated to do things when they think it’s their idea.
Have you ever seen the movie Inception? The movie’s entire premise is people getting into someone’s dream to plant an idea they want that person to do.
You don’t need to be Leonardo DiCaprio to be able to have your partner start thinking about jumping on the personal development train. All you need to do is let your motivation and your own transformation trigger them into thinking, “I want to do that, too!“.
This is a win-win because it allows you to be fully immersed in your growth without feeling like you’re tied down to only when your partner is on board.
As you continue to make decisions, take action on those decisions, and focus on where you can continue to grow, you build your self-trust and know that you’ll make good on your own promises. Your partner will start to see this inner transformation over time, too, because you’ll start to sound confident.
They will see you so consistently devoted to your breakthroughs daily that they can’t help but be curious about what you’re doing.
While all of this may sound good and make sense, let’s talk about if you’re worried if all of this will have the reverse effect.
What you need to know if you’re scared that focusing on helping each other grow will hurt your relationship.
Like we already talked about earlier, trying to force your partner into growing when they don’t want to won’t work. They need to see it work for you before they decide even to give self-improvement a try. But something else to keep in mind is that if you continue to focus on trying to force them to as committed to personal growth in a relationship as you are — and they’ve expressed that they are not into the idea — then it’s like you’re choosing not to listen to them.
The lack of willingness to listen to what they want will be the thing that ultimately hurts your relationship, not the fact that you want to focus on self-improvement.
Let’s talk about if you think your partner wants to leave you because you’re outgrowing them.
This is when I would go back to challenging questions to ask yourself to get to the root of why you’re afraid and what the real root of your partner’s disagreement is.
- How is your growth making them feel about themselves?
- How can you communicate your intention to focus on your personal development so that it doesn’t put them down?
- How can you let them feel sure that you love them just the way they are? (And ask yourself if you DO love them just the way they are.)
Here’s what I want to leave you with as you work through these deep questions: a relationship should NEVER be why you don’t grow. You should never feel the need to stagnate yourself to make someone comfortable, and if you do, you need to question yourself on why that is.
If you let your partner be the reason why you don’t focus on your self-improvement, you’ll grow to resent not only your partner but also yourself. Is that worth avoiding an uncomfortable conversation about helping each other grow?
I certainly don’t think so.
The Big Picture
The weight of getting both you and your partner 100% on board with personal growth lifts when you just focus on YOU. I know it may seem selfish to do so, but as we talked about already, it will help both of you grow a lot faster.
Not to mention, you’ll be free to dig even deeper into self-improvement and overcoming the obstacles in your way from where you are to where you want to be. Doing this work may not be easy, but friend, it makes the journey SO much more enjoyable.
P.S. If this episode was helpful to you, I would appreciate it if you let me know with a review on Apple Podcasts! Also, if you leave your Instagram handle in your review, I’ll DM you the link for access to my course Finding Motivation Everyday that is exclusively for podcast reviewers!
Also, if you’ve decided that your self-improvement is worth the effort and investment of your time and you want to radically improve the way you see your career and your life, then I want to invite you to work with me one-on-one. We’d work together for six months to get you from feeling powerless and unfulfilled in your job and life and get to the real heart of what’s actually in your way. By working together, you’ll have a fool-proof strategy for making the life you daydream about to happen. Schedule a free strategy call with me to see how to make it happen for yourself.