Thursday, May 19, 2016

Do You Believe You Can Really Change Who You Are?

So, do you think you can really change yourself?   A very important question since how we answer it determines the outcome.  A prerequisite for successful behavior change is the belief that we can change, or at least the willingness to try.

Some think they can change, some think they can't, and some are on the fence about it.  Unfortunately, those who stay anchored to the belief that they really can't change are pretty much stuck with the default settings they have for what they think, how they feel, and how they function. Too often, these default settings are far from good enough.

Perhaps there are a few people whose blessed lives leave little need for improvement. Lucky for them I suppose, but there are so many more whose lives would vastly improve if  they were open and able to change.  Addictions, depression, anxieties, insecurities could be put behind them; the comforts of self-esteem, genuine peace of mind and happiness made part of everyday life.

There is a very fundamental reason why so many struggle emotionally, but don't change:  The reason is that we are not taught how to change behavior proficiently, especially emotional behavior. So, if we are unable to experience well-being and happiness, chances are we never learned how to because we were never taught.  Ask yourself, did your schooling include any courses (even one) on mental or emotional health?  Most important, did you learn how to regulate your thoughts and emotions so you could control the way you feel?  My sense is that many people are not even aware that this is possible.  Were they hoping we would learn this stuff by the seat of our pants?

I found I couldn't even swing a tennis racket very well until I took some tennis lessons.  Certainly mental health is no gimme; it is not something we are born with, and  it is not something that just develops on its own.  Since what we learn and don't learn decisively affects our capacity to be well emotionally, educational programs need to be in the business of instilling behavior competencies that build emotional health.  How sad it is that we still do not have a standardized curriculum for mental health in our classrooms.  Like tennis and so much more in life, we can't be very good at these things without the opportunity to develop the necessary skills..

If we struggle, but are fearful about change, we resist it.  But once we learn how to go about it, changing becomes relatively easy, a valued asset rather than something to fear. We are then able to use this knowledge to optimize and maintain emotional adjustment and well-being.  In future posts, I intend to sort through and demolish, one by one,  the erroneous notions and beliefs that keep us from realizing growth and happiness. Stay tuned for more practical  #self-help at #ThinkRightFeelRight

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