Self-improvement: To change or not to changeArticle added by Anne Bachrach on May 28, 2014
Anne Bachrach

Anne Bachrach

San Diego, CA

Joined: October 26, 2009

What is change? Change merely refers to the process of becoming different. Usually, when you read about change, it involves major change for an individual or an entire culture. Social change can refer to a change in society’s institutions as well as social behavior on a mass scale. Change usually evolves from the same place: either an event or action takes place and begins to affect others until the minority becomes the majority. Usually people who are capable of facilitating change, or at least who are capable of buying into the notion of a needed change in society, are the ones who share the same values and characteristics of the proponents.

Who are the ones that create the movement for change? They are usually people who are concerned about what they perceive to be social injustice. Of course, this is not universally true. Some influential men in history were not so much interested in injustice but desired tangible benefits for their efforts. They may have been motivated by a desire for power, money or prominence. Still, one can’t forget that many men who were widely perceived as cruel dictators were actually motivated by an esoteric, even delusional, sense of belief.

Can people change?

An individual’s change can happen quickly, gradually or over a long-term period of time. It may be a conscious decision or it might be a personality change only perceivable by others, positive or negative. Most people won’t perceive that they are “changing” for the worse — they may believe that they are improving on certain individual qualities, all the while losing sight of their overall persona. Perhaps they have abandoned their previously upheld values or have altered their own perceptions of happiness and morality.

Knowing the definition of change, as well as the human understanding of change, may enlighten you as you start to make changes in your own life. What kinds of changes do you believe are necessary? First, decide why you believe a change is called for. Do you wish to change something about yourself, or do others remark to you that you should change? Are you judging yourself from your own perspective or the feelings and expressions of others? Do you think some change might be necessary to get from where you are now to where you want to be, because what you are currently doing isn’t working or isn’t as effective as it used to be? If you perceive that your current behavior is self-destructive and ultimately leaves you unhappy, then it may well be a time to change. Even so, it’s wise to first consider what qualities are helpful and what qualities can be unhealthy.

There’s no reason to make a great change in life unless you are fairly sure that it will result in your progress — of knowledge, happiness and greater success. Usually negative qualities are fairly obvious to others as well as the person themselves. A lack of self-confidence discourages one from trying new things leading to a sense of despair and oftentimes resulting in the forging of dysfunctional relationships. A lack of assertiveness can result in feelings of inadequacy and cause others to use controlling or manipulative behavior to get their way. A lack of ambition or goals may cause depression.

All of these negative qualities and many others result from self-limiting beliefs. These are beliefs that restrict a person from making progress, making changes or entertaining perspectives that seem contrary to the core belief.
The pros and cons of change

Some analysts have stated that when you consider change, whether in the context of society or an individual, there are a few factors to keep in mind — the pros and cons of change, as it were. The pros of change are indeed powerful and too many to list them all here. Change can correct a sense of injustice. It can instill faith and hope in humanity and improve relationships. It can lead to better efficiency in production and lifestyle. At best, change could even save the lives of many people.

What, then, are the cons of change? Well, once you set a change into motion, you usually cannot go back to the way things were before your actions. Altering the dynamics of certain human relationships could result in lost friendships. Changing a government’s policy could upset masses of people and cause civil unrest. One important part of making changes is the willingness to accept responsibility for the consequences, should there be any. If you make these necessary changes in your life, can you live with the results (no matter what they are) and with yourself? Remember that once you set change into motion, you must follow through with it, whether or not circumstances are for better or worse.

This suggests that the best way to bring about a major life change is to plan it out. Resist behaving impulsively and make sure to detail all of your goals in advance. Of course it goes without saying, but when you make the decision to change anything, you are probably doing it because of a perceived benefit. In most cases, you never know exactly what will happen until you try it.

When you enter into change, you must believe it will produce the desired results, or why bother? What got you to where you are today probably isn’t going to take you to where you want to be without some degree of change. We all grow as we get older. We experience and learn new things which help us to re-evaluate our approach.

Don’t be afraid to change just because you don’t know how the change will affect things. I've heard it said that if you continually do things the same way, you will always get what you have gotten. Explore what might be. Ask yourself, "What’s the worst thing that can happen?" In most cases, it will be something desired and something good. You may not do it perfectly the first time, but you will get better each time you do it. Try changing something that you have been putting off and experience the results for yourself. Enjoy!
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