In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to share a personal story with you and reveal the truth about the statement “People don’t change; they become more of who they really are.”
First a quick update:
“The root cause of your issue”
Are you tired of having the doctor tell you that ‘your lab work is fine, you’re just getting older’? Don’t accept that. Aches and pains, poor digestion, lack of energy and low sex drive are not a normal part of aging” says Michael Bauerschmidt, MD, MBA and Medical Director Full Potential Health Care, Fort Lauderdale, FL.
Listen to my extraordinary interview with Mike Bauerschmidt, MD. He is the Medical Director of Full Potential Healthcare. And as a Doctor of Functional Medicine, he reveals the new approach to health and getting your health back, focusing on the root cause versus just treating the symptoms. “Radical Healing with Functional Medicine”
“Three keys to getting over it”
Perhaps it is a betrayal, rejection, breakup; the key steps to achieving emotional freedom and being able to love again are – forgiveness, understanding what was your role and what was not (separating your issues from the other person’s issues), and, feeling safe to open, trust and love again. Forgiveness (for self and others) is the hardest and most critical step. I have dedicated an entire hour-long audio with insights and steps to the process of forgiveness in my program “Getting over it”.
Now, let’s talk about whether or not people can truly change.
People don’t change; they become more of who they really are.
I have believed that for many years, only to learn it is true depending on the way one defines ‘who they really are.’
This raises the question, “Who are you?”
The answer is much more than title, role, job, gender or personality.
“Who you are” is the combination of temperament, personality traits, habits, beliefs, values and, title, role, job and so forth. (Also see my personality test )
All of these are malleable and changeable with the exception of core temperament – the temperament one is born with, which seems to be slightly less changeable but still not permanent or firmly fixed.
Habits, beliefs, values and even personality traits can all change or be modified if one really wants to do so.
And because most people don’t want to change and choose not to change, as well as the fact that change is particularly difficult, then the conclusion that ‘People don’t change; they become more of who they really are’ tends to ring true.
However, that statement can also be equally true if one redefines what it means to be “who they really are.”
In other words, what is one’s core essence?
What is the core essence of human beings?
Is it good or evil? Is it compassion or indifference? Is it love or hatred?
Every human has the capacity to be and do both – good or evil.
Listen to the discussion and interview between myself and Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Stanford University, Philip Zimbardo, who led the landmark 1971 Stanford Prison experiment which foretold and paralleled most of the torture that was to occur at Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq
The action of committing good or evil is influenced by many factors (environment, emotions, stress, other people, specific situations & events and so forth.) Remember, Jews informed on Jews during the Holocaust, Africans warred with each other and sold each other to the Europeans during the era of slavery, and even in the 21st century, educated American soldiers committed torture in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In other words, whether or not one will commit good or evil, is a choice which is affected by various factors.
Having said that, it is not merely a poetical or idealistic statement or claim to say that I believe our deepest hidden desire is to express love. And greater and more fulfilling than the momentary highs of hedonism or power, is the expression of love and compassion – of forgiveness and contribution to others. In other words, I feel that our core essence is love and that therefore, people can change to become who they really are – to express love.
And ultimately the change occurs only when the choice is made to change – when a new goal has been set.
“Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound.”
James Allen – “As a Man Thinketh”
My father was an angry and abusive man.
And despite some momentary acts of generosity and hospitality, for the most part, his behavior was angry, abusive and vengeful.
Growing up, I had very few insights into the causes, reasons or motivations for the ‘way’ he was. Nor did I consciously have the desire to seek out those answers; I was too caught up in my own pain and conscious and subconscious desires to run away and escape. And I did. I lived in various cities in Australia before traveling and living on the other side of the world.
I never envisioned change as possible with him. I simply felt that it was the way he is and that he had no desire to change or the capacity to do so. And with brief conversations always limited to mundane topics, I had little knowledge of some of the small changes that had occurred.
And when my two youngest brothers (12 and 15 years younger) spoke at his eulogy and described their experiences growing up, I questioned if they were talking about the same father when they shared stories of a man who was still angry, strict and controlling but extremely less abusive and much more caring.
However, my father’s real change and transformation was something else, something much greater and much more shocking to me; something that I was only to learn about more than 6 years after his death.
With the intention of respecting the privacy of one of my nieces in Australia, I can share that I recently learned of the pain that she was still experiencing following the death of her grandfather – my father.
It staggered me when she related to me the relationship which they shared, He picked her up from school on a daily basis, cooked for her, served her, listened to her, encouraged her. He was a friend and a mentor. He was kind, compassionate and loving towards her.
How could this be?
Here was someone, a young girl, not only describing a man whom I had never met or experienced (a warm, loving man which she said was my dad), she was mourning his loss. She was in pain because she felt that she had lost him, lost his love.
Theoretically and academically, I understood that we all have the capacity to love, but I had never applied that to my world, to my father. I had never thought of him in this way – as a tender, loving man and grandfather – because I had never experienced that and I never thought of it as a possibility.
I was in shock and disbelief. In Psychology and human behavior, we call it Cognitive Dissonance – when your mind holds or tries to hold and face two conflicting thoughts or beliefs: He was an abusive man; he was a tender loving man.
My father had changed.
He transformed from being a monster to a patient loving and protective man?
Still I remained bewildered; how did this happen? How did my father change and transform?
Change often occurs when there is enough pain associated with a present behavior or when there is a personal crisis, a serious illness or even a paradigm shift as the result of a new found faith or religion. My father had always been religious, although it had never connected with his heart when I was growing up. And it seemed in the closing years, he did become moved by his faith and prayed often daily and for long periods. Did he pray for wisdom, compassion or the release from anger?
I don’t know for what he prayed but there was a transformation.
Sometimes, when one also awakens to the awareness of their mortality, the result can be surrender and humility.
Again, I don’t know if that was the cause of my dad’s change.
Or perhaps, his shift to compassion and the expression of love was the direct result of ‘who’ my niece was. She had seen something in him and she experienced the side of him which no one else, not even his four sons, had ever truly seen or experienced – love, patience, attentiveness, servitude, compassion and kindness. Maybe, it was something in her, something magical which also helped him change and helped him to express love.
People don’t change; they become more of who they really are. And maybe ‘who’ my father really was, was the kind, loving, strong and compassionate man which had been hidden by his own childhood pain and suffering, and which made him angry and abusive.
I am grateful that he became more of ‘who’ he really was and that my niece was able to experience that wondrous beauty and love with him.
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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”
Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist
Anointed “The Woman Expert” by WGN Chicago, Patrick Wanis PhD is a renowned Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert who developed SRTT therapy (Subconscious Rapid Transformation Technique) and is teaching it to other practitioners. Wanis’ clientele ranges from celebrities and CEOs to housewives and teenagers. CNN, BBC, FOX News, MSNBC & major news outlets worldwide consult Wanis for his expert insights and analysis on sexuality, human behavior and women’s issues. Wanis is the first person ever to do hypnotherapy on national TV – on the Montel Williams show.