A question of change

Is it really possible to change facets of your personality and behavior with a specific outcome in mind? I’ve always believed in my heart of hearts that it is, and I know that I’ve grown and changed immensely over the years – but, was my growth intentional or merely incidental?  I decided to do some research on the topic to see what I could dig up.  What I found were many fascinating quotations that all seemed to come about as a response to my question of change.

“To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.” [Henri Bergson, French philosopher, 1859 – 1941]

“The important thing is this: To be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.” [Charles DuBois, American chemist, 1912 – 1971]

“There’s only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.” [Aldous Huxley, English writer, 1894 – 1963]

“People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built.”  [Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady, 1884 – 1962]

All of these quotes suggest taking control over one’s change, as opposed to it coming about by mere accident. That can be seen in the action words “creating,” “sacrificing,” and “improving.” It follows then, that many respected persons throughout history have strongly believed that purposeful, intentional change in a human is not only possible, but quite desirable and necessary for living a meaningful existence.

But how does this desire to change come about? Are most people so in tune to themselves that they know how to make important changes just in time for them to be valuable? Or do they discover the need to change as a result of  life experiences? The answers lie again in the words of others.

“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.” [M. Scott Peck, psychiatrist and best-selling author]

“Most people can look back over the years and identify a time and place at which their lives changed significantly. Whether by accident or design, these are the moments when, because of a readiness within us and a collaboration with events occurring around us, we are forced to seriously reappraise ourselves and the conditions under which we live and to make certain choices that will affect the rest of our lives.” [Frederick F. Flack]

This notion of “reappraising” oneself is a perfect way to explain the kind of change I’m talking about. It’s the kind of change that results from knowing that you’ve failed, or reached a road block, and wanting to make a significant difference in the way you handle yourself and certain situations in the future. It’s kind of like a dandelion pushing through the earth and on its way having to weave through concrete and brick, but in the course purposely changing its growth pattern to come out of the dark and into the light. Like the dandelion (and many individuals throughout history), I too am battling obstacles in order to make some changes for a brighter future. And, let me tell you – it’s nice to know I’m in such good company.

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