Can we really change our mindset to become happy?
When we start dealing with our inner self and apply some techniques, often we tend to end up in a dead-end very quickly. That happens because dealing with our own self is the hardest job we have in life and when we don’t see quick results, we tend to give up very quickly.
The reason why I started this post is because I am examining people’s and my own behavior constantly. Is the mind what it is and there is no hope for inner change because we are who we are? Can we really change?
Let’s look at a case study. My biggest “change mindset” project beside working on my own mind has been, until recently, my ex-boyfriend. He is a complex guy with lots of pain buried inside from his childhood and young adult age. I admit his life wasn’t easy (I won’t get into details now what happened to him) but what strikes me is how closed he is in his painful world. Still to this day he is circling in the past, going through hard experience over and over again. And what happened? By doing so, he missed on the present times with me, ruining every good thing we had because of his self-pity and anger. I spent years trying to convince him how wrong that approach is. In the end I lost the battle. Now you might say that I am not the sharpest tool in the shed but in my defense, love makes you do stuff you won’t normally do. So instead of giving up on him after second or third hard situation, I decided to give him chance after chance hoping his lamp will light up and he will realize how lucky he is to have me, how he should change for his own good, bla bla… Never happened of course, because he never wanted to change.
I admit, self-change is very very difficult. We are dealing here with an ego which serves to protect us from the world in our own unique way. Let’s take some verbal bully for example. If you know any, first reaction would be an urge to spank him for his behavior because he is mean and rude. But if we examine the situation, this bully is really an average person who developed this kind of behavior because of something. Highly developed individuals do not harass anyone so what we are dealing here is probably a person who was bullied himself and developed low self esteem which makes him now bully others to make him feel better. So, can this person really change?
First important thing here would be having a desire to change. How many bullies want to change? None I would say. My ex-boyfriend doesn’t want to change. We solved that one right in the beginning. Nothing will happen if we don’t have initial need to change. Inner pain we feel is hard to deal with so it is better to leave it where it is and help ourselves with some alternatives (like bullying others or having angry outbursts to release the tension from inner pain or using drugs and alcohol).
My inner pain from depression and anxiety (which was also partially caused by uneasy childhood) was uncomfortable to me enough to develop a strong desire to release it. To initial anything a desire to change is necessary. Without it we will never make that first step.
But more often than not, people suffer and don’t undertake any actions to release the suffering. And that is number one obstacle to any change – there will be no change if we don’t have initial desire to change.
When we develop strong urge to change our mindset because we are depressed or unhappy, we will be able to initiate self-work. And then comes the second obstacle. We choose a technique, try it out and after a few days nothing happens. Then we give up.
I was myself like that. It was hard enough to deal with inner pain from depression and anxiety, putting all the extra effort to use some technique made me expect results quickly because the pain was there every day, every hour with me so I wanted to get rid of it quickly. Wrong approach.
Mind is a complex creation which has its highly developed defense mechanisms and it won’t let you get into it and make a change without a fight. It has sets of programs mostly hidden in subconscious mind where is not easy to enter and examine problems. So, to change the programs takes time and effort. Also, what works for one person doesn’t have to work for another which leads to trying out different techniques until we find the right technique(s) and start seeing results. Yes, mindset change is not an easy and short task.
My conclusion would be that mindset change IS possible. But two things are important – having a desire to change and consistency. When you pick a technique that seems interesting and feels like it might be helpful, stick to it for some time. Trying out a technique for three days and pronouncing it useless doesn’t qualify for a “try”. Few months would be more appropriate.
Character flaws are the hardest to change. It is a built-in program which makes us react almost automatically without even being able to figure out what is happening until the reaction is already done. I am still struggling with my short-tempered personality flaw and after years of dealing with it I would say I made some progress with putting it under control in most of the situations but still there is work to do.
Start your journey of a mindset change to heal yourself and start being happy because no one can make it happen for you. It is a life-long journey which requires a lot of energy and work but the outcome will be priceless. There will be ups and downs no matter how far we have come in some areas, but important thing is to never give up.