Psychologist Says We Must Accept Who We Are In Order to Change
BY ELLIOT LEE Edited by Nick Matthews
Now I understand we all naturally dislike change because honestly we are not used to it. Change can be scary or intimidating to those who are way too comfortable in their comfort-zone. Some people might even say that they don’t want to change because frankly it is not who they are or it just doesn’t feel right.
But Why Doesn’t Change Feel Right?
The reason why it doesn’t feel right is because we are creatures of habit. Once we get out of our daily routine, it starts to feel uncomfortable and weird. It’s like writing with your left hand when you are a righty. It just feels all weird and uncomfortable and you just want to go back to your old habits.
Is It Necessary To Be Constantly Changing In Your Life?
However it is a necessity to be constantly changing in your life because you have the adapt to your own unique situation.
Charles Darwin said it best.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change” – Charles Darwin
What Do We Have To Do Before We Can Change?
Before we can even change ourselves, we must accept who we actually are, since we need a starting point. It’s like using a GPS or Google Maps. First, we have to figure out where we are now (or who we are now) and then figure out where we want to go (or WHO we want to become)
And the first step is always figuring out where you are now (or who you realistically are now) and confirming your location (or accepting who you are). Once you figure out who you realistically are and accept who you are, then you are READY for change.
Carl Roger once said, “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.” – Carl Roger
And FYI, Carl Roger was considered to be one of the founding fathers of psychotherapy research and was honored for his pioneering research with the Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions by the American Psychological Association.
Basically Carl Roger Knows What He’s Talking About
Now to help you figure out and accept who you are, try to generally describe who you think you are at first. Try to look at yourself like a scientist observing a specimen. A scientist just gets the facts straight.
Remember be honest no one here is judging you! After you describe who you think you are, try to find events in the past that prove your own description. For example let’s say Steve is shy. Steve knows that he is shy and has proof from past experience. In the 8th grade he remembered he couldn’t bring himself to ask out his crush Vicky on a date. Even in his senior year of high school he was terrified during group presentation.
Now I don’t want you to feel bad or anything like that. I just want you to figure out who you are with evidence from your past experience.
Now What Do You Do After You Accept Who You Are?
Now that you figured out and accepted who you realistically are, you have to figure out who you want to become. Imagine who you want to become. Imagine this amazing version of you that can accomplish all your goals in life. Now if you think only imagining your new amazing self won’t do any good, thankfully you are wrong. Don’t ever underestimate your brain!
There has been research done on how your imagination affects the brain. They tested 3 groups of basketball players.
- 1st group was told to do nothing.
- 2nd group was told to imagine successfully shooting the ball in the basket from the free throw line.
- 3rd group was told to practice shooting the ball from the free throw line
The 1st group showed no improvement. (Obviously)
However the 2nd and 3rd group had similar improvement results even though the 2nd group only imagined successfully shooting the ball in the basket. And it’s not only for basketball. It has been proven in other activities such as playing the piano. So imagine who this version of you is and get to really know that “new you.”
The more you ACT like the “new you”, the more you BECOME that person. Basically what you are doing is replacing an old habit (or old behavior) with a new habit (or new behavior). The easiest way to get rid of old habits (like smoking) is to form new ones that are more fun and beneficial for you.
One Last Note
If you are doing everything right and are starting to change, people around you will start to notice. Don’t pay attention to what they say because when you start changing people can’t label you anymore.