A Little Known Secret for Intentional Self Growth

I think in many cases as we grow up we are taught to be strong, to have a shield over our feelings and to not let anything affect us emotionally (maybe we aren’t necessarily taught these things, but as a society we are indirectly encouraged, or maybe it’s a preconceived notion, to do these things) when in fact this is the very thing that keeps us from growing.

It’s a shield that works both ways. It keeps people out and it keeps our very core of our being in – our feelings and emotions.

One of the most profound things I have experienced is to be vulnerable

To have the courage to be vulnerable to myself; to feel and express those emotions.

Up until this point in my life, literally not too long ago, I was always putting on a strong face in not needing to express my feelings. Or, not needing to face my feelings because I thought they would naturally disappear the more I ignored them or made myself busy enough where they could naturally suppress (regardless, these feelings occupy space within us, whether they are at the forefront or not).

In order to grow from a spiritual and emotional standpoint I think there needs to be some kind of experience. Whether it’s a self experience in which you reflect upon and discover that ‘thing’ or if it’s a revelation through somebody else’s experience.

When I first heard Jeff Goins on a podcast I would have never thought that would be such a defining moment for me at that point in my life. He spoke about his new book titled The In-Between. As he spoke about the book and described the in-between moments, I would be forever changed.

It’s damn near a serendipity moment

The ingredients for that revelation is not so much the revelation itself, though is necessary, but, I think we must experience something, or feel something, prior in order for our souls to be able to connect with such revelation.

We can’t just flip a switch and change, it’s allowing yourself to be vulnerable in taking responsibility for yourself. Then, and a big then, it’s wanting to actually do something about it.

The flip of the switch is the revelation, it hits you like a ton of bricks, the opportunity for change occurs when you leverage that remarkable discovery to take the intentional action.

I had to own the fact that I wasn’t living in the in-between moments. I wasn’t spending the time with my son in the most purest form. I wasn’t driving without having pure road rage and anxiousness in getting to my destination.

I wasn’t purely focused on the thing I was doing at that present moment. I was always thinking about what I needed to do next, especially during those in-between moments.

When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we open the door for self growth. Tweet this

We  allow ourselves to accept our flaws. To own up to our true weaknesses and to be able to do something about them.

Prior to this revelation, I was stubborn to change

There were aspects of my being that I really did not like. For example, when driving I would be entirely focused on my rage towards the car in front of me going so slow preventing me from hurrying up to get where I needed to go.

Through my revelation, I asked myself, why am I wasting my energy on this rage, I can’t control the car in front of me.

Plus, the most profound realization was, this commute, this very moment are the exact moments that define, and makeup, my life and how do I truly want to spend it (other than driving and paying attention to my surroundings of course).

These are the in-between moments of our lives that truly define who we are. Spend them how you’d want the best version of yourself to spend them.

Change is difficult, it takes intentional work and practice

The very thing to remember is this, the rage that I used to constantly have in the car still likes to show it’s face from time to time, don’t get me wrong, but it’s now a choice that I have come to realize that I can control (it’s always been a choice, but now it’s an intentional one that’s at the forefront).

Instead of allowing the rage to carry on, the moment it hits my core is the very moment I shut it down so I can truly enjoy that moment. Most times that moment is with my son in the car, so it’s a time that I now cherish.

It’s a time where we laugh and be silly, it’s a time where we sing to Jack Johnson and the Curious George soundtrack, it’s a time where we make animal sounds.

It’s now the in-between moments that define my life and write my story.

The premise around this was being vulnerable of my faults, of my stubbornness. When we own our weaknesses and learn to be vulnerable to those, great things can happen to our self growth.

The thing about intentional self growth is that it’s not just a flip of a switch and it remains on. It takes a lot of hard work, and most importantly, discipline and courage.

As this mentality becomes ingrained into our existence they more or less begin to form as habits. As we all know, habits take work and habits can break if we start to slack.

Confront your weaknesses. If there’s something about you that you want to change, it’s up to YOU to change. Be vulnerable to your own self and be intentional.

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This also appeared on Medium. Full, unedited version resides here.

About Eric Ungs

Eric Ungs writes about a journey of intentional self growth, nudging you to let go; to give yourself permission to be vulnerable and honest with yourself so you can give your best self to others. Author of 10 Incredible Ways to Live a Fulfilling and Joyful Life ebook.


  1. True, Eric.

    I think some people can’t afford to share with others their vulnerability because they thought that it might affect their reputation. For me, that’s wrong.

    To maintain reputation is good but to maintain a human reputation us even better. And all humans have vulnerabilities.

    1. Agree! We ALL have vulnerabilities, it’s just deciding on what we do with them. Suppress them or express them. A lot of people suppress them because of the fear of exposing; both their reputation (what others might think) or the fear of what might uncover. Acceptance is sometimes very hard. Digging your last line. Wonderful comment. Thanks for reading! Really appreciate it.

  2. So true! Loving this idea – great post, Eric.

    1. Thanks Byron! Appreciate you stopping by and reading.

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