Change ?

People tell me that they are either an optimist or a pessimist and almost invariably they believe that this is such a basic and deeply ingrained part of their personality that it is one of those immovable traits.

From that they extrapolate that they are dominated in their choices and decisions by this factor too. It is certainly true that having one viewpoint or the other will affect what they believe and thus how the feel which in turn does  control how they act BUT. What would happen if a pessimist acted the part of an optimist, if they set out on paper the opposites of their first inclinations in a number of situations? By making conscious choices and being aware that there are choices to be made they could in effect present a case for the opposition. It is true that if this is just done as an exercise it only proves that they are capable of seeing another viewpoint, however, if I then ask them how someone with these alternative views would feel we begin to awaken something within them that has the potential to change much of their thinking. The next stage is to ask “If people who believe things different from you and therefore have different feelings from you how do you think they would act. Getting people to think along these lines can be transformational for them.

What is described above taps into the basic premise of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: What you BELIEVE affects how you FEEL and how you FEEL affects how you ACT.

When we are born we are incredible learning machines, amassing knowledge at an incredible pace, we take in what we see, what we hear, what we feel, what we taste, what we smell and we attribute meanings to everything. We store information in a way that relates it to experience so that when a situation arises the brain looks back to the last time such an event occurred and checks to see how it reacted then uses that as the base of the response in the present. What this shows is that everything is learned and repeated till it becomes an unconscious reaction SO what we learn we can unlearn and if we need something new we can learn that !

So the answer is yes you can change, you have to recognise what it is that is not working for you, understand how it affects various ( Unexpected) parts of your life and then set about deleting those beliefs /feelings/ actions and replacing them with others that fit your needs as they are now.

You would not carry on using  food or equipment that no longer performed as it should so in the same way beliefs, actions and behaviours need updating from time to time. What served you well as a child may be holding you back as an adult.

If you need help managing this change contact me, the process of change can be exciting, invigorating, liberating leading you into a more fulfilled life---go on--- give it a go.


© Martin Williams 2013/15/16