This topic was requested by one of my followers who messaged me directly on twitter. He asked me whether change is really possible as he believed it to be a futile attempt to spend time and effort trying transform oneself. His observation largely proved that people don’t change. He’s not wrong. Change does not come easy.
You are the product of a two hundred thousand year old race. You’re the manifestation of all your dead ancestors in a single living organism. You involuntarily follow century old customs that you have grown to believe as socially acceptable. There are parts to you that act out regretfully when things don’t go your way, and all you manage to say is “I don’t know what came over me”. You barely understand the inner workings of yourself and your brain. But there you are, looking at yourself in the mirror, reflecting on the parts of you that you despise and ask the question; can I change?
What you’re up against
It is often the case that the very thing we want to change about ourselves seems to be the most difficult. A poor habit almost always finds itself embedded deep in our reward system where it entangles itself with things that bring us immediate comfort and gratification. To make matters worse, we often immediately regret the action after executing it. Our desire to gratify ourselves with no impulse control measures the weakness of our core self. And the frequency of our regret measures how integrated we are as an individual. If you take these two elements into account, you can loosely conclude that everything you don’t like about yourself, is not you. It has it’s own thoughts and feelings. And it happens to act on its own accord. To change a part of you means to battle someone else inside of your own being.
The parts you don’t like about yourself are products of evolutionary manifestations. Those emotions you have no control over, used to be a communication tool before language was invented. We relied on communication through emotions and other behavioral actions just to meet the demands of our survival. And now, its these same emotions and habits we are trying change about ourselves.
Change is Possible. But Extremely Rare
Jungian psychoanalytic theory suggests the parts of yourself you declare non-existent will come back with a vengeance. This by definition means you cannot change yourself. When we see someone transform themselves into a better person, what we are witnessing is not change, but rather channeling. They somehow have managed to look at themselves and find a way to re-channel their poor behavior and find an acceptable outlet for it.
- People only change when they encounter a traumatic event. A naive person for instance, either transforms to become a predator, or a prey after encountering hell. The transformation is largely involuntarily. It happens as an element of chance, when life decides to bring hell upon them.
- Involuntary change happens regularly in the presence of catastrophic events.
- Voluntary change rarely happens.
Voluntary change is merely Shadow Integration
The decision to change usually originates from a set of inner and outer observations. You look at your action and its consequences. Then, you take note of where the result of your action puts you within what is acceptable in society. Ultimately you find that your action has had an adverse impact on your surrounding, and if you wish yourself a better future from there on wards, you begin to make an agreement with yourself to change. This lengthy process of acknowledgement is not very sophisticated. And the difficulty doesn’t lie in identifying your poor habits, as society will always find a way to reveal it for you.
The difficulty lies in confronting the parts of yourself and integrating it with who you are, to tame its manifestation to become more refined, and its existence more acceptable.
Envy can help you ascend in life, if you stopped lashing out in a resentful, destructive manner, but rather honed in your contempt and fueled it with desire to achieve more. This ‘change’ takes time. It’s a battle between a socially refined you, against a primal ancient version of you. It requires voluntary exposure through triggers and active suppression and impulse control. Then it requires you to re-channel the dark energy towards constructive values instead of destructive ones.
What It Takes
If you really want to change, you need to isolate all the parts of yourself you despise. Personalizing them vividly helps identify what exactly you are trying to change. The aim is to record its trigger points and its behavioral manifestation. Once you have quantified all these parameters, the aim is to voluntarily expose yourself to your sub-personality and discipline it on how it acts out. Re-channeling is only possible when you’ve learned to control the behavioral output of your sub-personality.
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