Personal growth requires the skill of being able to look at ones own behavior in order to come to understand which behaviors lead to wholesome states of mind, and which do not. We make use of objective discernment, rather than harsh judgment, so as to not fall into the deeper trap of creating suffering for ourselves through undue self criticism. Instead, we simply watch and learn, connecting the dots of how our experience arises through the confluence of different streams of thought.
For instance, if we feel agitated, we can pause to reflect by checking in on the contents of the mind. What kind of thoughts have led me into this agitated state? Looking closely, we connect the dots, coming to understand how states of mind come to be. We don't criticize or inflict harsh judgement on ourselves, we simply notice.
Throughout this process, we're aiming to accept ourselves as we are while simultaneously recognizing room for improvement. Similar to the work of a visual artist, we can regard our own lives as works of art, from which we're always stepping back, looking closely, seeing clearly what can be improved upon, then make those changes without any anguish.
We strengthen this skill of being able to see clearly through the regular practice of meditation, developing our mindfulness so that we can be continually aware of the movements of the mind, and where they're leading us.