If you take a look at my archives, it's probably pretty clear that personal growth and change are important to me. I think about them a lot and write about them a fair bit. It would be even more accurate to say that I worry about them a lot and obsess about them a fair bit.
I just realized something that I've never seen before, and it gives me hope. When graphing some types of data, the individual data points may be scattered all over the place, up and down and here and there and with not a lot of apparent consistency among them. When reading this type of graph, what matters in many cases is the trendline. What direction are things generally going in, even if there is volatility in the individual pieces?
As terrible as I feel about my progress some days, the trendline of my life is going up.
I feel so much better about myself now than I have at so many points before. I am more able to face my hard times and my "desert places" than when I was younger, even just a little bit younger. I'm poor and I haven't got a lot of work, but I am able to face with more equanimity what it will take to succeed -- face it with trepidation, but face it rather than run away.
I don't feel like I'm much less selfish, much less self-centered, but maybe I'm more aware of those traits. Maybe awareness is what comes before change.
I think this trendline is going in the right direction, and that's a better thing to look at than the motion in all of the individual points. Everyone has up and down moments. The picture of the whole is what's important.