25 Tattoos That Symbolize Growth (2021 Updated)

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One of the hardest things people have to do in life is grow; by that, we don’t mean physical growth, but rather mental growth, maturing and forming into a wholesome, self-reliant personality.

The growth of personality and mental strength has been the main idea of written masterpieces and art for hundreds of years. And, every time we think we’ve gotten the gist of what this type of growth is and what it comprises, it just slips away and we realize that all we can do is pursue growth and associate it with the growth symbolism around us.

The growth symbolism usually stems from nature and natural occurrences. There is nothing better humans can relate to than nature and the animal kingdom. So, if you’re looking for a new tattoo design that will symbolize your personal growth and ability to overcome obstacles in life, you’re in the right place.

In the following paragraphs, we’ll take a look at some of the representative growth symbolisms, their meaning and some of the best tattoo design which incorporate all of that. So, without further ado, let’s get started!

The Symbolism of Growth and Best Tattoo Designs

The Lotus Flower – Spiritual Growth and Awakening

The origin of lotus flower symbolism are Asian countries like China and Japan. The reason for this lies in the fact that people there are witnessing lotus flowers growing in almost impossible circumstances and every possible condition. For thousands of years, because of that, the lotus flower has symbolized one’s ability to grow despite the challenges, overcome obstacles and use the world around them to ascend and reach its full potential.

Of course, the lotus flower carries other symbolism as well, like spirituality, connection to the world, compassion, love, and much more. Because of its symbolism, the lotus flower is especially significant in Buddhism and Hinduism, where such flowers are associated with gods Vishnu or Brahma for example. The lotus flower petals, in such interpretations, also symbolize one’s awakening or the awakening of one’s soul.

The Lotus Flower Tattoos – When it comes to lotus flower tattoos, they are often traditional representations of the flower. These designs do not move far away from the realistic lotus imagery, just to stay true to the symbolism and meaning. Lotus flower tattoos can be placed anywhere on the body, but people seem to prefer locations like the shoulders, forearm, hands, neck, etc.

Lotus flower designs can be adjusted to fit both males and females and can feature other items like Buddhism symbolism, lotus stem, lotus petals, the moon, etc. Here are some of our favorite lotus tattoo designs you can use for inspiration;

Also Read: 50 Trendy Spiritual Tattoos: Deep Meanings And Sacred Ink Charms (2021 Updated)

The Lotus Flower - Spiritual Growth and Awakening
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Phoenix – Rebirth and Growth

One of the most prominent symbols of growth, transformation, and rebirth is the mythological bird known as the phoenix. This mythological creature has encouraged people to emerge victorious even in the hardest, most difficult times of their lives. As the bird emerges from the flames, it symbolizes a new self and a new opportunity for life. And this symbolism is relatable to millions of people out there, whether we’re talking about some personal struggles and battles, or life in general.

In ancient Egypt, the phoenix was referred to as Bennu and symbolized rebirth as it was wearing the crown of the god Osiris. In the Japanese tradition, the phoenix can be male and female and symbolizes good luck and peace. In the more Western tradition, the phoenix often symbolizes courage, power, strength to overcome the struggles and battles, and one emerging victorious.

The Phoenix Tattoos – When it comes to the phoenix tattoos, they generally carry the same, aforementioned symbolism. The bird itself is often represented as a colorful, iconic creature, surrounded by ashes and flame, or the bird being in flame itself.

The symbolism of rebirth and starting life anew is the predominant meaning. The flames, the ashes, and the gloriousness of the bird often require the tattoo to be medium to large in size. It is often colored to further emphasize the symbolism of ‘rising from the ashes’. Here are some of our favorite phoenix tattoo designs;

Phoenix - Rebirth and Growth
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Koi Fish – Growth Through Obstacles and Endurance

Koi fish is one of the representative symbols of Japan and China. This distinguished fish is known for its incredible color schemes and patterns, but also for the roles it has in the traditional legends and stories of China and Japan.

The main koi fish legend describes thousands of koi fish struggling to swim against the current but eventually managing to reach the main destination of the Yellow River waterfall. Upon arriving, the fish gave up seeing that it is impossible to climb up the waterfall. However, one Koi fish has managed to climb the waterfall despite challenges. Upon arriving at the top, the Koi fish turned into a golden dragon.

Because of this, and similar legends, the koi fish represent transformation, change, determination, and perseverance. It symbolizes one’s ability to overcome obstacles to reach the ultimate goal. And if that’s not a symbol of personal growth, then we don’t know what is.

The Koi Fish Tattoos – When it comes to koi fish tattoos, we can say they are the most versatile in design and meaning. For example, each color scheme or color combination in the design carries a certain meaning. The position of the fish also affects the meaning. If the fish is depicted as swimming upstream, it symbolizes obstacles, struggles but also perseverance, and determination.

The design of the tattoo, therefore, can be extremely versatile and carry a load of meaning. Koi fish tattoos are often smaller to medium in size, colorful, and rather delicate. The koi fish can be design in the form of the golden dragon, accompany a lotus design, or depict two koi fish in a yin yang form. Here are some of our favorite koi fish tattoos you can draw your inspiration from;

Koi Fish - Growth Through Obstacles and Endurance
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Butterfly – Transformation

Another beautiful creature of nature that symbolizes growth is a caterpillar or a butterfly. Across the globe and cultures, the butterfly carries loads of different symbolisms and meanings. For example, in Asian cultures butterfly symbolizes love or a dead person’s soul, while in Western cultures a butterfly is the symbol of personal transformation and growth. In some cultures, a butterfly can even symbolize an impending death as well.

Nonetheless, the most prominent symbolism of a butterfly is transformation, growth, change for the better, and personal development. As such, butterflies are some of the most common tattoo design ideas.

The Butterfly Tattoos – When it comes to butterfly tattoos, the design can always be adjusted and versatile, but the meaning is always there. Whether it represents a touch of nature, a beautiful creature in itself, or a symbol of growth, butterflies are an excellent choice for anyone who wants a meaningful and wholesome tattoo.

Also Read: 20+ Butterfly Tattoo Design Ideas (Meaning and Inspirations)

Butterfly tattoos can be colorful or grey, detailed or simple. So long the outline of the butterfly is there, you’re good to go. That is why these designs are not only meaningful but can also be rather budget-friendly.  Here are some of our favorite butterfly tattoo designs and ideas;

Butterfly - Transformation
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The Triskelion or The Celtic Spiral – Progress and Continuous Growth

The Triskelion or the Triskele is an ancient Celtic symbol believed to originate from the Neolithic times. The symbol depicts a triple spiral, standing from the Celtic belief that everything good must come in threes. The symbol can also be found in the Greek culture of the Hellenistic period, as well as the French culture.

The Triskele symbol features three clockwise spirals, appearing to be moving. From there originates the symbolism of constant movement, growth, and progress. This is probably one of the oldest symbols and decorations known to humankind. Nevertheless, to this day it carries the same meaning; moving forward and the ability to grow despite obstacles and adversities.

The Triskelion Tattoos – When it comes to the Triskelion tattoos, they carry the same aforementioned meaning of one’s growth and progress. When it comes to the design itself, it is often rather simplistic, comprising three connected clockwise spirals. The tattoo is generally black and can sometimes feature additional details, writings, or the spirals can feature flowers and other Celtic items. Here are some of our favorite Triskelion tattoo design ideas you can use for inspiration;

The Triskelion or The Celtic Spiral - Progress and Continuous Growth
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The Bottom Line

These were the five main tattoo symbols that represent personal growth. However, these are not the only symbols that carry that meaning. You can get any type of tattoo you want and ascribe it the meaning you want. However, if you want to stay true to symbolism and the origin of symbols, then we recommend you draw inspiration from the aforementioned tattoos.

You can even combine these tattoo designs to create your own interpretation of personal and mental growth. For example, you can take the Triskelion tattoo, and at the ends of the spirals add three small koi fish. Or you can combine the symbolism of the koi fish golden dragon and the lotus flower. The possibilities are endless. Either way, we hope this little insight into the world of symbolic tattoos will help you come up with an awesome design for your next tattoo.

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