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Psychologist Says We Must Accept Who We Are In Order to Change

Psychologist Says We Must Accept Who We Are In Order to Change

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.

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“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

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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.

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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.”

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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.

Featured photo credit: Change = Progress = Happiness via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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