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Changing One's Personality

Crazy LarryCrazy Larry Registered User regular
edited April 2007 in Debate and/or Discourse
So lately I've been on a self-improvement binge (read: trying to motivate myself to quit being lazy and do something with my life) and I've come to question just how realistic it is to expect to be able to force a change in one's personality. This isn't the first time one of these fits have hit me, and in the past it's also fizzled out and come to nothing. I'd say I'm not a markedly different person than I was five years ago, and if I am it's just from gradual changes over time, and not any conscious desire to change. My experiences with my friends has been similar. I see people who know they have self-destructive habits and try to change yet keep repeating the same mistakes. Granted, this is all anecdotal evidence, but I seem to recall the one psychology class I took reinforcing my beliefs in this regard.

So, a person's personality - set in stone, or can we willingly change?

Crazy Larry on
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Posts

  • Me Too!Me Too! __BANNED USERS regular
    edited April 2007
    I think if a person makes a concerted effort, they can change to some degree. However, most of the changes we go through are just in response to our environment.

    Me Too! on
  • Target PracticeTarget Practice Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    No. You cannot wilfully change your personality; only the way you are perceived by others.

    Acting different does not make you different.

    Target Practice on
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  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    edited April 2007
    It's absolutely possible for your personality to change. Everybody's personality changes over time. Deliberately directing that change is difficult, but not impossible.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.

    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
  • NisslNissl Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    In my experience it is possible to change your personality for the better, but it's a slow process and you can't really proceed in a top-down, "I'm going to become more active/outgoing/happy by making a big effort" fashion. But figuring out your issues and why you engage in unfulfilling behavior patterns really does change who you are and how you approach situations.

    Nissl on
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  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    It's tough. I've tired to change some things about myself over the years with limited success. I can act differently when I really try but when I relax and let my guard down I seem to slip back into my old habits again and again.

    Then again I'm a self-destructive clod.

    nexuscrawler on
  • Irond WillIrond Will WARNING: NO HURTFUL COMMENTS, PLEASE!!!!! Cambridge. MAModerator mod
    edited April 2007
    You can change you habits.

    Habit is the most powerful force in day to day living.

    Edit: This is Shinto.

    Irond Will on
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  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Where is Will and what have you done with him?

    nexuscrawler on
  • OboroOboro __BANNED USERS regular
    edited April 2007
    Nissl wrote: »
    In my experience it is possible to change your personality for the better, but it's a slow process and you can't really proceed in a top-down, "I'm going to become more active/outgoing/happy by making a big effort" fashion. But figuring out your issues and why you engage in unfulfilling behavior patterns really does change who you are and how you approach situations.
    The process!

    1) Recognize your 'problems' or what you want to change
    2) Try your best to figure out why you do those things in the first place
    3) Just keep doing your darndest to understand yourself, not to improve yourself
    4) If change is in the cards for you, and your environment is suitable for it, it may or may not come

    There's really no magic, or way to force it. It's just about understanding, and changing subconscious habits to conscious ones-- from there, some things are not 'in your natural state', which is a load of bullshit to say that-- for whatever reason,

    some of your habits or what-all you want to change may be less your personality and more a habit you developed in response to some fear, or something like that. That sort of stuff can change. Your actual personality, though?

    I don't think you could want to change your personality, because it's who you are. Your personality is not just what makes you who you are, but defines what you enjoy and dislike. That's not shit you want to push against-- it's the stuff you want to embrace. Understanding what's integral to you and what is an environmental response is the first step towards realizing if it even can change without making you miserable and forcing you to live superconsciously.

    Oboro on
    words
  • Look Out it's Sabs!Look Out it's Sabs! Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Shinto must of tied up will and his wife in the basement. Now he's running loose. Oh knows!

    Look Out it's Sabs! on
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  • Ain't No SunshineAin't No Sunshine Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    No. You cannot wilfully change your personality; only the way you are perceived by others.

    Acting different does not make you different.

    The entire field of psychotherapy for mood and personality disorders disagrees with you. But, as noted, it takes a long time and lots of dedication. The process is to normalize (for you) things that previously were tough or bad, and to condition yourself to dislike things that previously seemed good to you.

    It's definitely easiest when the old things had automatic bad consequences, like crimes where you were caught. Just saying, 'alright, I'll be X now', is a very hard thing to do.

    Ain't No Sunshine on
  • The Green Eyed MonsterThe Green Eyed Monster i blame hip hop Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Irond Will wrote: »
    You can change you habits.

    Habit is the most powerful force in day to day living.
    Basically.

    Get up earlier, get more done, read more, meditate, walk more, change your grooming, fashion, etc. and you will feel different, and feeling different will change the way you interact with the world.

    The Green Eyed Monster on
  • PodlyPodly you unzipped me! it's all coming back! i don't like it!Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    I find the more you do, the more likely you are to do other things. I am much more likely to read or go for a run if I have a hour free between activities than if I have a whole lazy day ahead of me.

    *This is Shinto.

    Podly on
    follow my music twitter soundcloud tumblr
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  • Ain't No SunshineAin't No Sunshine Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Irond Will wrote: »
    Edit: This is Shinto.
    Podly wrote:
    *This is Shinto.

    That's true; breaking out of a sedentary period is the best way to get busy on everything you're going to do. I also find it refreshing.

    * This is Shinto?

    Edit: SPARTAAA

    Ain't No Sunshine on
  • Bliss 101Bliss 101 Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Just don't set up a self-imposed ideal "you". Chances are you'll get hopelessly lost trying to become that person. I've spent the past couple of years trying to find my way back to sanity after such a trip. Like the others said above, the best way to go is probably to take baby steps.

    *This is Shinto

    Bliss 101 on
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  • GlyphGlyph Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    I tend to think that people are in a constant state of refinement towards the person they inevitably strive to be. The person you are now isn't the person you were five years ago, or even five minutes ago. Whatever you may become, it's crucial that you make peace with that identity by the hourglass' final grain.

    Edit: This is Shinto.

    Also, I respect Glyph. He is the stone that the builder refused, he is the visual, the inspiration that makes ladies sing the blues.

    Glyph on
  • voodoosporkvoodoospork Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    I tend to agree with the consensus as to the possibility of change, but it also helps to examine the precise reasons you wish to.

    Is there something important to you that being lazy interferes with?

    Are you just responding to external pressure?

    voodoospork on
  • ShintoShinto __BANNED USERS regular
    edited April 2007
    Much like Jacob called Israel, I am by myself a nation.

    Happy Easter.

    Edit: This is Jesus

    Shinto on
  • ViolentChemistryViolentChemistry __BANNED USERS regular
    edited April 2007
    No. You cannot wilfully change your personality; only the way you are perceived by others.

    Acting different does not make you different.

    Thinking differently does.

    ViolentChemistry on
  • Jon 118Jon 118 Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    It is possible to change your personality, but it isn't easy. As has already been stated, breaking habits and making new ones is very difficult. If you want to change your personality you need three things:

    1) Determination
    2) Lots of time
    3) A complete unwillingness to accept defeat

    Of course, this moulds your personality in addition to the things you are trying to change, giving you the traits of stubborness and patience. Hence, me.

    p.s. Shinto rules the world. Shinto is the overlord. This is my unbiased opinion. Shinto is not standing behind me with a shotgun, making me type this.

    Jon 118 on
  • SpongeCakeSpongeCake Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Cognitive Behavioural therapy is all about changing your personality through changing the way you think, and there's plenty of evidence that it does a damn good job. On the other hand, the whole concept of the Personality Disorder is often based around a set of personality characteristics that are almost unchangeable, it's really all about how extreme the trait you're trying to change is.

    SpongeCake on
  • ShintoShinto __BANNED USERS regular
    edited April 2007
    Jon 118 wrote: »
    It is possible to change your personality, but it isn't easy. As has already been stated, breaking habits and making new ones is very difficult. If you want to change your personality you need three things:

    1) Determination
    2) Lots of time
    3) A complete unwillingness to accept defeat

    Of course, this moulds your personality in addition to the things you are trying to change, giving you the traits of stubborness and patience. Hence, me.

    p.s. Shinto rules the world. Shinto is the overlord. This is my unbiased opinion. Shinto is not standing behind me with a shotgun, making me type this.

    Wow, I didn't know you could type that fast.

    In terms of changing your habits the important thing is not to be too hard on yourself for failures along the way. Heaping mental abuse on yourself for failings might seem like you are being really determined and hardcore, but it isn't sustainable in the end. It just weakens you.

    Accept the defeats, think through them to understand exactly why they happened then concentrate on the present. Don't live in the future or the past.

    Shinto on
  • Jon 118Jon 118 Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Shinto wrote: »
    Jon 118 wrote: »
    It is possible to change your personality, but it isn't easy. As has already been stated, breaking habits and making new ones is very difficult. If you want to change your personality you need three things:

    1) Determination
    2) Lots of time
    3) A complete unwillingness to accept defeat

    Of course, this moulds your personality in addition to the things you are trying to change, giving you the traits of stubborness and patience. Hence, me.

    p.s. Shinto rules the world. Shinto is the overlord. This is my unbiased opinion. Shinto is not standing behind me with a shotgun, making me type this.

    Wow, I didn't know you could type that fast.

    In terms of changing your habits the important thing is not to be too hard on yourself for failures along the way. Heaping mental abuse on yourself for failings might seem like you are being really determined and hardcore, but it isn't sustainable in the end. It just weakens you.

    Accept the defeats, think through them to understand exactly why they happened then concentrate on the present. Don't live in the future or the past.

    By refusing to accept the defeat I meant that you acknowledge any mistakes, bad things, etc which happen, then don't let them faze you. You perservere through whatever happens and whatever catastrophies happen.

    BTW, that isn't really Shinto is it? Somebody's hijacked your account, just as you're hijacking mine...

    Jon 118 on
  • ShintoShinto __BANNED USERS regular
    edited April 2007
    I am Shinto.

    There can be only one.

    Shinto on
  • LiveWireLiveWire Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Gaining more self-respect and confidence will change your personality in a positive way. And make you more attractive to wimmins.

    LiveWire on
  • Loren MichaelLoren Michael Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    I am Sparticus?

    Loren Michael on
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  • Target PracticeTarget Practice Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    No. You cannot wilfully change your personality; only the way you are perceived by others.

    Acting different does not make you different.

    Thinking differently does.

    How would you propose that you force yourself to think differently?

    Do you seriously suppose that the difference between the pessimist and the optimist is a matter of effort?

    Target Practice on
    sig.gif
  • ViolentChemistryViolentChemistry __BANNED USERS regular
    edited April 2007
    No. You cannot wilfully change your personality; only the way you are perceived by others.

    Acting different does not make you different.

    Thinking differently does.

    How would you propose that you force yourself to think differently?

    Do you seriously suppose that the difference between the pessimist and the optimist is a matter of effort?

    Well, the way I did it was to start analyzing things more deeply. Like, everything. Then I reached various conclusions which led to new attitudes which led to new behaviors. Lather, rinse, repeat. But I don't know how to make other people change their personalities, aside from brain-washing techniques. Of course, I'm not a cognitive behavioral-therapist or whatever, so of course I don't know that.

    ViolentChemistry on
  • SnotgutSnotgut Registered User new member
    edited April 2007
    http://www.2knowmyself.com/ I've got to recommend this website. It has the most useful self-help style information I've ever heard or read. The author's first language isn't English and he sometimes talks about things like telekinesis but don't let that put you off.

    Snotgut on
  • PotatoNinjaPotatoNinja Fake Gamer Goat Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    It is possible to change your personality.

    These changes can be both the dramatic "sudden revelation / paradigm shift" types or the more common and practical "change of lifestyle" types.

    The former are usually kinda crappy, so aim for the latter.

    Also:
    The author's first language isn't English and he sometimes talks about things like telekinesis but don't let that put you off.

    Out of context, that seems potentially sigworthy.

    PotatoNinja on
    Two goats enter, one car leaves
  • PotatoNinjaPotatoNinja Fake Gamer Goat Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    No. You cannot wilfully change your personality; only the way you are perceived by others.

    Acting different does not make you different.

    Thinking differently does.

    How would you propose that you force yourself to think differently?

    Do you seriously suppose that the difference between the pessimist and the optimist is a matter of effort?

    People tend to think of a changing personality in terms of a flipped switch, like you would just "decide," for lack of a better term, to go from sad to happy, or introverted to extroverted. Any serious type of self-change takes time. Learning, forgetting, gaining or losing weight, every change we can do to ourselves takes time and either effort or a decided lack of effort.

    So, the answer to your question, in a sense, is "yes." The difference between pessimism and optimism is a matter of effort, in that you can control to a limited degree how you think. Much like the difference between a healthy body and an unhealthy body is a matter of effort. There are certain factors outside your control, but there are also a large number of factors within your control, and the continual application of different events (exercise, positive thinking, therapy, practice, whatever) will, over a period of time, lead to a permanent change.

    PotatoNinja on
    Two goats enter, one car leaves
  • SliverSliver Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    It also depends on what you want to change. Acquiring a taste in classical music, doable. Not being manic depressive anymore, no.

    Sliver on
  • VeegeezeeVeegeezee Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Sliver wrote: »
    It also depends on what you want to change. Acquiring a taste in classical music, doable. Not being manic depressive anymore, no.

    That's an interesting point. I usually find that I interact with people on a whole different set of rules when I'm keeping myself in good physical shape - so how much influence does chemical balance have on personality?

    Veegeezee on
  • PotatoNinjaPotatoNinja Fake Gamer Goat Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Veegeezee wrote: »
    Sliver wrote: »
    It also depends on what you want to change. Acquiring a taste in classical music, doable. Not being manic depressive anymore, no.

    That's an interesting point. I usually find that I interact with people on a whole different set of rules when I'm keeping myself in good physical shape - so how much influence does chemical balance have on personality?

    Potentially quite a bit. You can argue a sort of chicken <--> egg thing with some chemical and emotional responses, but there is a good amount of anecdotal and as-scientific-as-you-can-get evidence supporting certain environmental and biochemical factors controlling aspects of personality and emotion.

    The best example might be the effect certain drugs have on individuals (particularly addicts) and the effect exercise has on almost anyone.

    PotatoNinja on
    Two goats enter, one car leaves
  • IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Yeah, this is certainly possible, I did it myself. I had no -real- role models growing up that I'd want to emulate, so I ended up emulating, of all things, RP characters of mine (I do not recommend this unless your RP characters are -awesome-)

    The difference over the years has done a great deal towards giving me an ability to function in the real world, whereas I was virtually paralyzed in human to human interraction in my younger days. The change is certainly not total, as I'm still fairly shy, but I can focus on badassitude enough to get over it when I really want to now. But I'm at least doing things like dancing with random women at a night club instead of huddling away reading RPG manuals without any people to play it with.

    Suffice to say, however, my method leads to a bit of eccentricity, so it's more proof of possibility rather than "Here is what you should do."


    They call me the man in black.


    EVERYONE does.

    Even the fucker who sold me my car.

    --

    Also: Pets. If you want to work on things like empathy, get pets. Cats especially. The amount of work they demand for their love is great for building empathy. Cats make your heart melt.

    Incenjucar on
  • LondonBridgeLondonBridge __BANNED USERS regular
    edited April 2007
    The good thing about my separation is using my experience being married on my dates. Spending 6 years with a girl showed me what a girl likes. I guess you can call that a personality improvement, maybe?

    LondonBridge on
  • Dread Pirate ArbuthnotDread Pirate Arbuthnot OMG WRIGGLY T O X O P L A S M O S I SRegistered User regular
    edited April 2007
    The good thing about my separation is using my experience being married on my dates. Spending 6 years with a girl showed me what a girl likes. I guess you can call that a personality improvement, maybe?

    No, you learnt what your wife likes.

    Dread Pirate Arbuthnot on
  • JohannenJohannen Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    I've actually been trying to change my habits. Alcoholism is one i'd love to be able to curb, but whenever I start drinking I can't stop from carrying on. It's bad, I know, and i'm trying to slow my drinking.

    Edit: I'm Spartac... Uuuh! I mean, This is Shinto.

    Fuck, beat'd by top of page barsteward.

    Johannen on
  • ShintoShinto __BANNED USERS regular
    edited April 2007
    Imposters will be killed.

    Shinto on
  • bsjezzbsjezz Registered User regular
    edited April 2007
    A change to your personality is always going to be a lot easier when it happens alongside a major change in your lifestyle - ie a move to a new city / country, a new job, a new relationship. If you can work new patterns of thought / action into a routine which isn't yet set in stone you've got a hell of a lot more of a chance of it lasting.

    bsjezz on
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  • IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited April 2007
    Another one that's done me wonders in coping with my own emotional problems: I more or less taught myself to, rather than grumble at them thar folk what kiss and cuddle in public, to instead revel in the fact that -hey, look, people in the world are happy, that fucking rocks-.

    Being able to curb jealousy, and replace it with empathy and joy, is fucking -nice-.

    Incenjucar on
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