Glowing Up: Internal, External or Both

When we hear the words “Glow Up” we often think of physical changes or a change in hairstyle or even a change in financial status/marital status. Rarely do we think of a person taking care of their mental health, increasing their level of self-awareness or a newfound dedication to holistic practices as Glowing Up. 

But, maybe it’s time to rethink what Glowing Up really means.

The first question we should ask is, can external growth happen without internal growth?

For the most part, a person has an epiphany moment, and realizes that change needs to happen because their current place in life is no longer producing the results they desire. Most people go straight for external changes and miss the vital opportunities to work on internal changes that create lasting results. For example, starting a crazy workout regimen before addressing their relationship with food or paying off debt before addressing their spending habits or ending a relationship without addressing the relationship with themselves. 

Avoiding the root cause of your problem means you’re missing out on the chance to create self-awareness. So, it would be hard to maintain a Glow Up if there’s no internal growth.

Internal growth means that you believe you deserve more than what you’ve allowed in the past and you consciously make choices to support that belief. Internal growth can be a small change like saying an affirmation every day or a big change like enforcing a boundary with a loved one. Other examples of internal growth can be building a healthy relationship with your body, a healthy relationship with yourself or a healthy relationship with someone else. Internal growth can be realistic financial goals, living a more authentic life, knowing when you’re mentally/emotionally burnt out, and choosing not to push yourself further for the sake of others. Internal growth can also mean having the desire to change character flaws, reduce self-sabotaging habits, taking steps to show yourself more compassion, and choosing ideal outcomes over chaotic ones so your growth can be continuously supported.

The most important lesson I’ve learned from my past Glow Ups, is that you must honor yourself in every decision you make to avoid the “Temporary Highs & Lows” of life. For almost 2 years I made choices that served an outdated version of myself, and those choices kept me stuck on a loop of self-sabotage. I avoided going within for so long that life gave me no other choice but to do the work. In laymen’s terms, I got sick of my own bullshit, sick of my people-pleasing ways, sick of not hitting my goals and sick of waiting for people to validate my worth. Skipping the internal work will only produce failure, so I made the decision to serve myself above all others. That includes putting my needs before anyone else’s needs; family, spouse and kids included. I had to create a safe space for myself so I could learn how to nurture myself. I had to learn how to provide my own emotional security as well security in other areas of my life. I had to change my environment so the energy around me could change.

Changing your day-to-day environment is how you start the process of growing from the inside out. Your day-to-day environment can be people, places, thoughts, habits, actions or patterns. Focus on changing from a place of compassion, patience and acceptance. Nothing worthwhile happens overnight, so applying extra pressure is not required. 

As within, so without is the concept I live by when measuring my internal growth. Meaning, my outer world is a direct reflection of my inner world.

Once there’s a consistent pattern of internal growth, positive energy will overflow into your external world and create growth in your immediate environment. External growth can look like decluttering your house to remove stagnant energy & promote the flow of positive energy. External growth can look like prioritizing self-care, choosing healthier food options or allowing yourself more rest. External growth can also look like meeting with a financial advisor to develop better spending habits, or speaking with a therapist to explore traumas and underlying issues so new habits can be cultivated.  When the underlying issues are addressed, you can proactively choose a higher level of self-awareness. Increasing your self-awareness is the stepping stone to changing your perspective and walking away from the mindset of being a victim. External growth also looks like accepting responsibility for your happiness or lack thereof.

External growth truly takes place when committing to yourself no longer feels selfish.

The most important lesson I’ve learned from my own external growth is to embrace the concept of balance and alignment. I’ve learned how to make my day a good one without the help of others. I’ve learned that it’s okay to say, “No” to situations that trigger self-sabotage. I’ve learned that my habit of overthinking needs to be balanced with moments of stillness. Sound Healing Meditation is my favorite way to balance my thoughts because my thoughts carry power and are my biggest opposition. Through this variation of meditation, I taught myself that some thoughts deserve validation and action, while others deserve observation only. 

Balance for me includes setting financial goals and treating myself to reasonably priced splurges once my goals have been met. Balance for me also includes making the relationship with myself a priority and showing myself compassion on the bad days with a heavy dose of self-care. Balance can also mean treating yourself better so people can learn how to treat you, enforcing boundaries without hesitation, and honoring your intuition since your intuition is your direct connection to the Universe/God/whatever Higher Power you believe in. Balance looks different for everyone, so create a safe day-to-day environment where you can explore your needs and honor yourself through the process.

Glowing up will always be an internal process that affects the world around you. It requires commitment to self improvement on all levels, a nurturing environment that promotes growth, and balance that can be maintained. A long-lasting Glow Up also requires learning the art of self-love, the art of detachment and releasing self-sabotaging habits. Letting go of outdated beliefs and situations is the only way to grow because it creates space to bring in new experiences.

So to answer the original question, “can external growth happen without internal growth”, the answer is no. To embody the Glow Up, the change has to start within so you can become the light at the end of your tunnel. Everything starts and ends with you, even a Glow Up.

Lisa Thomas – Reiki Master