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Is change really possible?

It is not often I pose a question in a blog post (well, at least not in a post title), but today I am doing exactly that.

Can any one of us really, truly change in a fundamental way, or are we pretty much destined to be who we are (meant to be)?

I know a recovering drug addict. Said person is clean again, as far as I know, for at least the second time (not counting "forced" bits of sobriety). Do I think this person will stay that way until the sun sets, so to speak? I want to believe that this time is really it, but history and statistics tell me that the odds are not good. I also know people with drinking problems who I think even if they got help will struggle with alcohol for the rest of their lives. But I am also pretty sure in both cases, no one is ever really "cured"; every day is a challenge.

I know people with bad tempers. Some have damaged physical things. Even worse, a few have hurt others physically and mentally. I realize that some people want to change and may even go to some type of counseling and therapy, but will those angry souls ever be able to be calm, or at the very least, hold their tempers in check every single time? Will they be able to treat their partners as they should be treated?

Some people cheat on their spouses. I know people who have tried to make amends and have gotten back to together (or never ended their relationship to begin with). Do I think those people will never cheat again? I hope they stay on the straight and narrow, but isn't it really hard to never do it again? Could there be something within their personalities that practically encourages them to do so?

Do I think that Big Ben has, once again, "found" God and is going to be a decent human being? I believe he is trying to change, but at some point, he is probably bound to get caught up in the Big Ben persona and will behave badly.

Will most people who are bad with money continue to make poor financial decisions? Dave Ramsey followers seem to have a lot of success, but I would love to check in on those people five or 10 years down the road. I just don't think too many of them, particularly the ones who lived above their means for no other reason other than because they just wanted stuff/to feel "good," will be responsible with their money for the rest of their lives

I am not a neat person. Clutter is my middle name, or at least one of my half dozen names. Of the three of us kids, I pretty much always had the messiest room, and if you looked at my dresser now and then compared it to the dressers of my brothers, I can say without a doubt, mine has the most crap on it. When I moved to the Burgh over 14 years ago, my first time on my own, I did not have much stuff. So I managed to keep my apartment neat. In fact, I even vacuumed several times a week despite that I had no pet and very few people traipsing around my place to warrant that. But eventually I acquired stuff and more stuff, and my neatness flew out the window.

I used to be pretty self-centered. But once I had a kid, I stopped thinking the world revolved around me. Yet since I think the world pretty much revolves around my kid, does that mean I am still self-centered?

I have written before about how I was conservative growing up. Then I went to college and became fairly liberal. Once I was about 30, I was back to my conservative ways, even going so far as to (gasp!) becoming a Republican. Yet I have to say as conservative as I am, I have also become pretty open-minded about a number of issues, actually about things in life in general. I don't think I was always this way, so willing to see another's point of view. I also think my being so much less judgmental is fairly new for me as well.

And, hey, when I was a kid, I hated football.

Maybe change is possible.


Anonymous said…
Interesting post and question. I think the addiction stuff is of a different vein. In many cases once you are hooked you will always be. Though perhaps having an addiction personality is a bigger factor. Hmmm. Can we change? I think so but your point is well taken. In that it is probably not permanent lots of times.
Anonymous said…
If you want to do something that goes against your personality you can do it but prob not without some struggle or constant monitoring. Is that true change?
joely said…
Nothing in our life or personality has to remain constant. CHnge is aways possible, but it is a matter of if we accept the truth and want that change.
Insight into change teaches us to embrace our experiences without clinging to them — to get the most out of them in the present moment by fully appreciating their intensity, in full knowledge that we will soon have to let them go to embrace whatever comes next.
Insight into change teaches us hope. Because change is built into the nature of things, nothing is inherently fixed, not even our own identity. No matter how bad the situation, anything is possible. We can do whatever we want to do, create whatever world we want to live in, and become whatever we want to be.
Good question for everyone to answer about themselves.
Facie said…
Thanks for the comments.

Anon, I do think in most cases a big change is something you need to work on continually; a messy person (e.g., me) doesn't just say she is going to be neat, and then, poof, she is and will continue to be neat for the rest of her life.

And, Joely, I think wanting to change is a big part of it. Otherwise, you probably have little hope of being successful (like the addict that is forced to give up drugs). Letting go. Hmmm...

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