Why is my personality my personality? As an adult, can I change my personality?
Our personality, belief system, fears and values were created during our education, inside of our culture, within our environment and were formed by a multitude of events in our past. Whether we were conscious of it or not, we assimilated many personality traits from our parents, teachers, peers and from others who interacted in our daily lives.
A Child’s Unimpeded Learning vs. Adult Barriers of Change
Children learn everything at a rapid pace. For example, a child can rapidly and proficiently learn a new language. For adults, however, language learning often takes more time and commonly the results are not nearly as good.
For many reasons, as adults, everything in life seems to be more complicated. And one of the main reasons is because of time. Time repeatedly reinforces our character traits to anchor them deeper and deeper into our being and thus solidify our personalities.
We have had time to adjust and adapt to our fears and beliefs. Even though we do not obviously appreciate some of our more irritational fears. So much time, time to reinforce the fear, time to justify both our beliefs and our fears.
On the other hand, while you were younger, nothing really felt too difficult to overcome and therefore, you were less limited.
So, as an adult, is it really possible to create change?
Being a hypnotherapist, in my practice I see different reactions to change. Please note, I am not referring to the capacity to change because when someone really wants to change, the change occurs. Importantly, a real profound change depends on the capacity of believing the change is possible.
Over the years, I have worked with many different personality types. And always one of the strongest barriers to change is skepticism.
Frequently, skepticism is attached to a highly analytical mind. Whereas, people that tend to be pragmatic tend to believe in what they can see and touch.
In another article I wrote about perception, we find that what you see, touch and feel can be colored or influenced by your perception and sometimes can be far from the truth. This can be demonstrated through what is called the McGurk Effect.
The McGurk Effect is the distortion of what is heard caused by what is visually perceived. Simply, what you see is what you hear, not what is actually being said.
Now, even though you are aware that altered perceptions exist, you may not be aware of how often it happens in your life!
And this becomes even more complicated when someone highly analytical faces a monumental challenge. Imagine an obstacle or adversary so significant that despite his or her best efforts, everything has resulted in failure. Given this formidable scenario and then complicating it further, the person participates in an alternative therapy, of which he or she is already skeptical.
But… YES ! it is possible to change as adult and here is how we can do that.
We need to return and adopt the same mindset of a child. This perspective includes being open, feeling no shame, maintaining a willingness to absorb new ideas and curating a positive disposition of optimism to achieve success. (This may in part include actively avoiding focus on the difficulty of the process.)
As an adult, your best friends and biggest enemies are your high capacity to analyze and desire to control.
We live in a complex world. A world where we still have not figured many of life’s fundamental questions. You think you can control your world? You really think you can analyze and make sense of everything?
Please remember, just through the process of controlling one’s mind that people perform a form of surgery in hypnosis.
Are these people superheroes? Most likely not. And although others may be skeptical. We do know one thing, these people are certain about their results.
The key of real change is to want it and to accept that change is possible.
And like children, maybe we should more often try to emulate the child’s perspective, instead of obligating the children to imitate us.
This is the meaning of “unlearn what you learned”. Using your analytical capacity, you learned about the world around and became you. Simultaneously, using your analytical capacity, over time you backed yourself into a corner, where seemingly less and less is possible.
Return to the mindset of a child – absorb new ideas and curate an optimistic personality for change.
Stay young my friends.