Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Same Same, but Different?

Have you ever met someone who, through life, became a series of different people? I'm not talking actors or those with major psychiatric disorders, but general everyday people out there.

As we go from childhood to adolescence we can go through phases, but the basic tenets of our personalities typically remain the same. You can do personality typing to find which category you fit - but classically these things remain true and unchanging throughout our lives.

Does that mean we should just resign ourselves to being who we are - without any attempt to improve ourselves? Or should we try to defy the statistics and make ourself into someone else? If we do change are we then just becoming a false version of who we really are , or is it a true improvement / modification? I certainly see a lot of people who partner up with someone with the expectation of changing them and moulding them into a form that they think is ideal - and it usually creates disappointment all round.

The saying goes that the only constant thing in life is change, so what happens to our personalities? Are they stuck in a pre-ordained path? I've been told I'm change intolerant but I think that's crap - perhaps by thinking that I'm not - in fact I am? Maybe I should change my personality based on popular opinion? But popular opinion is just as likely to change. Certainly I think we can improve ourselves in all kinds of ways. We can exercise regularly to be physically fit. We can look at ourselves and critically analyse the way we do things and question the reasons behind the things we do to gain an insight into our decision making, and nut out ways to make our existence a better one.

But is ignorance true bliss?
And is change for change sake reasonable? If it ain't broke don't fix it?

I work with people trying to modify their lifestyles all the time. Sometimes a major life overhaul is needed, and in order to do that people need to break their routines. It can be very comfortable being in a routine - and change can be serious hard work, at least to start with. People need to be convinced that they really need to change, and even then actually making it happen certainly isn't guaranteed.

I guess it holds the same for our personalities - but is it really possible to become someone different?


Colin said...

People spend years training their intellect or training their body but never trouble with the mind, it remains petulant and demanding like a child. To sit in meditation and observe the mind offers you a totally new perspective on the machinations of your personality and the driving force behind it. The Buddhist teaching is focus on the breath and observation of the mind.

Sam said...

Good questions Trevor! I have been pondering these things of late myself, as I experience some life-and thought-changing moments over here. We should change only if WE see that need in ourselves, and certainly not by popular demand. If you're unahppy in yourself, only you and no-one else can effect that change too - but it doesn't mean those you love can't help.
Changing someone else, even for the 'right' reasons is never good, as you liked or loved them for a reason in the first place, hopefully for their imperfections, as much as for their perfection. I suppose a change is as good as a holiday my friend, but then again, it's always nice to come home too.

lynnette said...

hi T, my answer is YES, you absolutely can change--but it is easier when you move to a new place because no matter how much you change the people you knew in your previous incarnation will almost alsways think of you as who you were, rather than who you are. that has been my experience, anyway

Christiaan said...

I'm with Lynette.

I believe the values and morals we are raised with as children stay entrenched with us throughout our life.

But then, based on and building on that framework, we are all given free will and the ability to change, grow and evolve as human beings throughout our life.

I do know that when I moved to Sydney from the middle of no where, I changed dramatically as a person. Furthermore, when I look back to the experiences I have had throughout my life here, they have all contributed to the evolution of me and my spirit. When I look back, I barely recognise the young man that I was, living in deepest, darkest Queensland.

The day I stop growing, learning and changing as a human being, I know I am ready to die.

I love being an 'agent of change' now - stirring the pot and finding new life in old things.

Though, Trevor, I think you are incredibly fortunate to have born in an area where you have never wanted to move away from. You are able to provide stability and a consistancy to your friends, family and your patients who rely so heavily on this aspect of your life. Everyone will know exactly where to be able to find you. You are one lucky little black duck to know such inner peace and contentment.

I was born in a place that I wasn't meant to be and had no future for me - so I have spent my life searching for somewhere to call a 'home of my own'. I'm still searching...

C x

Martin said...

Interesting post. I have found that change is possible - you do not necissarily lose or change a trait completely, but you can train your mind to view the trait from a different perspective and how to use it differently. It takes work and is not always pleasant, but if you do work on it you grow and evolve. Some things, however, do not need to change - the challenge is being happy with them.

Kenny McCormack said...

Change takes personal responsibility. It's a hard thing to get through to patients. I guess it's the same for everyone else too.