Can A Person Really Change? | The Journey of Personal Growth
“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” – Alan Watts
Our personality, our behaviors, and our interactions with others are all dynamic whether we realize it or not. Passionate enough to startle change! In my life, I’ve seen friends and relatives of mine change their attitudes at the drop of a hat and it often made me wonder what makes people change so!
Changing who we are or how we act has brought questions like, “Do people really change?” to the forefront of many minds.
Change is an inevitable if not inherent, part of our experiences as human beings and it bleeds into almost every aspect of our lives as well. Whether we talk about personal growth, habits, attitudes, behaviors, or even personality traits, the idea of change raises the same question, “Can a person change?”
If so, then how, when, and why do people change? In this blog, we’re exploring the psychology behind personal growth and understanding what makes people change their attitudes, behaviors, traits, and habits.
Change in Attitudes,
Yes, a person can change their attitude as time passes. Attitudes are not our fixed traits but beliefs that we hold towards other people, situations, or even events. Change in attitudes can often come from a healthy dose of self-awareness, open-mindedness, and a willing heart to change.
Oftentimes, our attitudes are related to the emotional pain of our past. You might not even be aware of it, but your attitude in certain circumstances may be a reaction to a past painful trigger or memory.
When you live with trauma, it can cause a defensive response or attitude that can impact how you react or respond to a situation where your trauma is triggered. Even your social influence and the people you choose to surround yourself with can influence change in your attitude.
Change In Habits,
Yes, a person can change their habits too! The habits we form are learned behaviors that have become automatic at some point. These behaviors have ingrained over time. When you choose to break old habits and form new ones, it can be a challenging experience, but it’s possible with the right mindset.
You can change your habits by being self-aware of them and intentionally changing the default behavior enough times until your new habit becomes automatic. Some habits (especially the ones related to anxiety) may need you to dig deeper and self-reflect. I digress, however.
Before a person can change their habits, it’s important to understand why a change in habits is warranted. Knowing this can help sustain the habit change.
Change In Personality,
Contrary to popular belief, a person can change their personality traits as well. It’s possible but it’s never always simple. Personality traits change with time already, however, some of our core personality traits are always stable and unchanging. Examples of personality traits include honesty, generosity, and perseverance. These personality traits exist on a spectrum so it’s safe to say that you can be anywhere on the spectrum!
When we grow up and experience life through – experiences, for one – our interests and view of the world change. It’s inevitable. How we live in the world and go through life can change who we are and how we continue to perceive the world around us.
You may be a kind person (inherently) but as time passes, you may find yourself becoming less compassionate towards people in certain situations.
Because of this, you may be a generous person, but may in time become less generous with certain people or in specific scenarios, for example.
Change in Behaviors,
When we talk about our behaviors, that too, can change. Behaviors, especially hurtful ones, can include actions that hurt others emotionally or physically. Such behaviors can include aggression, manipulation, disrespect, and such. Again, changing behaviors needs self-awareness and commitment to change.
Since our personality is ever-changing, positive interactions and relationships can influence a change in our behavior. If a negative behavior is associated with a mental health disorder, then a mental health professional can help influence a positive behavior with therapy.
Factors That Make a Person Change
In various studies, motivation and therapy have been found to be the most common factors that make a person change. Other than motivation and therapy, here are other factors that can change a person;
- Life experiences (losing a loved one, breakup, health scare, job loss, etc.)
- Feeling dissatisfied in personal life
- The desire to find life’s purpose or trigger happiness with change
- The desire for personal growth and development (wanting to learn a new skill, stepping out of comfort zone, etc.)
- Social influence (positive role models, supportive network, influential mentors, etc.)
- A shift in perspective or core beliefs (exposure to new ideas, challenging existing beliefs, adopting a new way of thinking, etc.)
- Constructive feedback from others
- Intrinsic motivation and willpower to change
When you choose to be more of who you are, you can begin to relax and be open to new things. You may want to change your habits or attitudes because they are affecting how you act in your relationships, how you perform at work, or how it interferes with your personal life.
However, not everyone can (or would want to) change. Regardless of their circumstances, motivation, or willingness.
Some people may realize that the time is not right to implement change or others may realize that there is no need to change. It’s not always a lack of motivation but a lack of insight into oneself that can prevent a good change in a person.
People can truly change. But only when they practice self-awareness, gather support, and become intentional in changing their attitudes, behaviors, habits, and personality traits. Change takes time, and can be challenging, but with the right motivation, therapy, and social influence change can come easier than you may think.
I hope this article helped you understand how and when people change and what makes a person change. For more, connect with us at email@example.com or share your thoughts with us in the comments below.