Popular parlance has us thinking that people don’t change – “can’t teach an old dog new tricks” type of mindset. Businesses spend thousands in establishing everybody’s personality type and corridor conversations in companies are resounding with “I’m an INTP… what are you?”. Others like to think they’ re a type A or a type B. I get it… we all want to feel that we make sense. Predictability is safety.
An understanding of who we believe we are and how we are offers us security. Recognising ourselves is important and it allows us to feel normal. I am all for insight and understanding. But what I don’t buy into is the idea that we are fixed into a certain self which never changes. This seems so limited to me.
As a psychologist I spend most of my life helping people change. The point of talking therapy is to help people meet themselves, reflect on their life’s dilemmas, recognise blindspots and grow self esteem, self-worth and well-being and inner confidence. Engaging in our authentic unconscious inner lived experience always leads to psychological growth and change.
Life itself is about adapting, growing, evolving. We all change. I am certainly not who I was when I was 20, 30, 15 or 5.
We all grow. We learn. We shift. We change our views. We continually adapt to what life throws our way. Of course this doesn’t mean we are widely different every day we wake up. Of course not. What I m saying is that we are fluid, relational in our navigating of dilemmas and we have loads of potential for change. I experience myself to be a work in progress – always in development and I refuse to buy into the notion that we don’t change. We do!
Even on a cellular level we renew. Did you know that every cell in your body regenerates and in 10 years from now there won’t be a single cell from today’s cells remaining in your body. Even your skeleton regenerates.
We are evolving daily and non stop! Our brains have been shown to shift shape and size through neuroplasticity depending on what we think and feel. So even biology suggests change is evolutionary and continual.
My point is that we are not fixed beings at all. We are beautiful interpretative minds that are full of learning, growth and change. This is amazing and definitely worth celebrating!
So in answer to the question “do we really change” my answer is a firm yes. The key to being open to change is reflexivity and openness.