Character

Can people truly change?  This is an age-old question with a not so easy answer.  We all have opinions on whether or not people can really change.  My answer is going to be sort of a mix and I will tell you why. 

We have heard people say “I’m a changed person,” “Be with someone because you love them, not because you want to change them,” or you may hear people say to one another “You’ll never change!”  What does this all mean?  Is it possible to change and if so, in what way?  For how long?  These questions are very thought-provoking for me and slightly complicated to write about, but one that interests me.  

There are different aspects of change, they could be personality, character, habits, temperament, etc.  Some of these are more easy to change than others.  I do believe that change is possible if someone really wants to, however the question remains how long will that change last and will an individual be highly prone to slipping back to old ways?

For the most part, I believe that personality and one’s temperament are pretty solid.  Throughout life we are constantly being exposed to many situations, different people, different ways of needing to adapt, these life circumstances can change who someone is, though temperament and personality I feel stay fairly the same throughout.  I believe people have many sides to them and situations, people, and life events bring out different aspects of our personality.  For example, I consider myself more of a homebody, but when I have a lot of plans going on, or I am doing a lot socially, I enjoy them and it brings out my outgoing and carefree side.  This doesn’t mean that I am changing, just a different side of me is being brought out.  Individuals can experience traumatic situations in life and these can cause someone to change their behavior, one may even notice a change in their personality.  Life events do change us, sometimes permanently, but I feel like our personality and character is innate and can always be brought forth.  Just how we all have things that make us happy, sad, or trigger us, those things are likely not to change, they are a part of who we are. 

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As far as habits go, I feel like if someone wants to change, that is when there is the best chance of an actual change.  When people change for others, or change due to pressure, this I feel is where the change may be temporary.  Even when one changes a habit for themselves, there is always that chance of going back to what is familiar and how we have done things most, or all of our lives.  I see this in my own self.  There are certain parts of me that I try to work on often, things like relationships, communication, managing anxiety, etc.  I work very hard as these are areas where I really want to make personal changes, yet it is a constant battle trying to change what I want and doing what is innate and comes to me naturally.  I know much of it is mind over matter, however true and constant change proves very difficult, at least for me!  I feel like there are sides of us that truly make up who we are and maybe are not meant to be changed.

So, for my answer to this age-old question, I would have to say yes, people can change and people do change, however I feel for the most part that change is either temporary, or that past ways have a tendency to resurface at some point in the individual’s life. This is quite a subject to ponder and there are so many sides to look at that there could be many opinions on this topic.  This is not to say that people can’t change permanently, they absolutely do, if someone truly wants to. Feel free to share your opinion on this topic below!

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In Tune

Isn’t it funny how a certain song has the power to bring back so many memories? It’s as if it temporarily transports us back in time. Certain songs remind us of certain events, or times in our lives and they can evoke so many emotions.

I love the feeling of being in my car and having a song play from many years ago. It’s like having a little blast from the past. It’s pretty amazing how many years, or even decades later, a simple song can trigger so many thoughts and emotions in our brain.

Years and years ago, it was common for people to burn CDs of their favorite music. I spent hours and used countless CDs to burn my favorite songs throughout the years. I keep them all in a CD case in my car and still to this day, I spend more time listening to my CDs than the radio, or any other way of listening to music. I love the connection to old songs and the happiness that comes from listening to them. I have songs that remind me of my high school graduation many years ago, songs that remind me of college, relationships, friendships, dates that I went on, jobs that I’ve had, vacations that I have taken, the list is endless. It seems like every song ties me to a certain time in my life.

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As I sit here and write this, I can’t help but to think of the importance of memories and the importance of music. It is so valuable to keep memories alive and to remember the good times. Not only is it a happiness booster, but it reminds us of where we have been and who we have become. Music is equally important for boosting our mood and finding connection to the lyrics is an extra bonus. A good tune and beat is just good for the soul. Our brains are tied to things that evoke great emotion like events, music, art, certain scents, etc. These all stay etched in our brains. Recall how a certain scent can remind you of someone, or even a holiday scent that brings you back to memories of celebrations with your loved ones.

It is very important for us to do things that bring us joy and happiness. The memories from the past still are very much a part of who we are. To me, it’s so fun going back and “reliving” these moments simply by listening to a song. Try putting on some of your favorite songs from way back when, particularly songs that you listened to during some of the most fun and happy times of your life and see what a good mood booster it can be!

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Center Stage

Do you ever feel like the whole world has its eyes on you, watching your every move, decisions, and mistakes?  Well, to put it simply, most of the time they don’t.  We are the center of our lives and we are so in tune with ourselves and what is happening to us that we feel like the whole world is just as in tuned to us as we are.  The truth is, everyone is involved in their own lives and is not focusing, or watching us as closely as we perceive them to be.

There is no one that knows us better than ourselves, we know ourselves very deeply.  We know all of our needs, fears, desires, we have lived through all of our past experiences and that has molded us to create beliefs about ourselves, beliefs that we feel other people have about us also. In reality, other people do not see us how we see ourselves, they do not know us on the same deep level.

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How many times were you surprised by the response of others, where you thought they were thinking one way, but it turns out that it was the opposite?  For example, you have just finished giving a presentation at work, you feel like you blew it, like it was a failure, you think of all of the things that you forgot to say, yet when it’s over, you get amazing feedback from your coworkers.  Think of when you got a haircut that you didn’t like, or a minor imperfection that you have that you feel like the whole world notices, think of how many times you have brought those minor imperfections up to people and they respond by saying “Oh, I didn’t even notice until you said something!”  All of these examples show that we are entirely more focused on ourselves than other people are.  

In the world of psychology, there is a concept known as The Spotlight Effect, it basically states that we feel like we are being watched and observed far more than is actually happening.  I know that as a teenager I felt like I was always in the spotlight, always being observed and judged, but so did others of my age.  I still feel this way sometimes now as an adult, but I am so much more relaxed and I try to live life for me and not worry what others are thinking or saying about me.

I hope that this post has helped you in some way and that it reminds you to live your own life freely, be 100% you, and do what you love.  You are at the center stage of your own life and your audience couldn’t see you in a more brighter light!

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A Side of Me

There are different sides to us that come about as we navigate through life.  We may have a shy, serious, confident, or anxious side.  There are many sides to someone and they are uniquely ours, they make up our personality.  Some sides of us go quiet until they are awakened, or provoked, others are a daily part of who we are. 

Blogging brings out a side of me that is seen on a regular basis, but also a side that very few people get to see in my personal life.  By nature, I am a very silly and goofy person, I love to laugh and to make people laugh.  My sense of humor is rarely seen in my blogs because blogging brings out a more serious side of me.  Those who know me in real life know that serious is not typically a word to describe me, I am more of a laid back and goofy person.  I very much enjoy talking about deep topics and life experiences, but not all people like to engage in that sort of conversation and even for me it takes a special person, one that I am comfortable with, for me to bring that side out.

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I thoroughly enjoy blogging, it is such a huge passion of mine.  I will actually be writing a blog post at some point dedicated to the reasons why I love to blog so much.  Blogging takes me to a different place, a different world, it is almost like when you hear people who love to read say they got lost in a book, or when you sit down to watch a movie, how it kind of takes you away from your own life and into another realm.  Through blogging, one can see my reflective, serious, deep-in-thought side, it brings out much more depth of my soul that I don’t show to many in my everyday life.  My thoughts start to flow as soon as I pick up a pen.

Blogging can be very personal as the blogger is typically writing about their innermost thoughts and life experiences.  I know many of my posts are inspired by these two things although my blogs are not extremely personal because I tend to direct my thoughts and experiences more to the general public in hopes that they will in some way inspire, enlighten, motivate, and make others feel connected.  I also tend to indirectly link my personal life into my blog posts.

I suppose that maybe this is why people like hobbies, they bring out different sides of us, they are a form of expression, they allow us to be ourselves.  Whatever you have a passion for, whatever sets your soul on fire, add that to your life and see where it takes you!

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Distortions

We see everything in life clearly, or do we?  There is so much to see in this world and some of it cannot be seen with the naked eye, but even what we do see is not always how it appears.  How many times in your life have you been so certain that a particular person was a certain way and they ended up being the exact opposite, or a situation that you thought took place one way, actually unfolded in a completely different way?  Looks are very deceiving, things are definitely not always how they appear.

If you really stop and think about it, this topic could drive you crazy.  We see someone, or see things one way, but they are actually another.  Much of what causes us to see life distorted are our past experiences.  We know that x,y, and z turned out a certain way in the past, therefore we think it will turn out the same way again.  We can sometimes get caught up in assumptions, I know I do this, I assume things are a certain way just based off of how they appear, definitely something that I continue to work on because this mindset is not very helpful!

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Another aspect that creates distortions in our lives are our own fears and anxieties.  We all have things in life that make us uncomfortable at some point or another.  I’m sure that we have all felt like someone didn’t like us, or that the world was against us.  Picture this, you met someone new, they are quiet and don’t really want to engage in conversation with you.  Different people will have a different response to this, some will figure that the individual is just shy or reserved and needs time to become comfortable, others might think that the individual doesn’t like them, or doesn’t enjoy their company, they may wonder what they have done wrong.  What about when your boss e-mails you and wants to set up a meeting, some may just take this gesture as a normal part of business, where other people may worry that they are in trouble, or about to be given bad news.  We can see how our mind can cause us to see people and situations in a distorted way.

We can easily create a lot of unneeded stress in our lives by not seeing a person for who they are, or a situation for what it is.  It’s hard not to do, I struggle with this myself, but it is helpful for us to remember that things are not always as they seem.  

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The Perfect Life

I’m sure for a lot of us, we have had an image or idea of the kind of life plan, or life path that we wanted to take.  For some of us, we have had an idea of the “perfect life” since we were children.  Maybe we dreamed of going to college, getting married, then having children, or maybe our goal was to graduate high school, become an entrepreneur, and explore the world.  Whatever your ideal life had looked like, I am sure that it is somewhat quite different than you had envisioned.

I think with anything in life, we have some sort of idea of how we want, or expect things to play out.  We have this vision of what would happen if we could perfectly lay out the foundation of our own lives.  I know with my own life personally, I had a vision of my “perfect” life and what I had hoped would happen this far.  Overall, I have achieved many things that I wanted, however the way in which I obtained them, or the order in which they occurred in my life was nothing like I ever expected.  Like many, I have had some tremendous hurdles, road blocks, and detours in life.  If someone would have sat me down and told me all that was going to happen in my life, I probably wouldn’t have believed them. Life rarely turns out like we expect it to and I think sometimes we get so set on how life should be that it really catches us off guard when life does not go as planned.

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Life takes us down some very unexpected paths.  We have this vision of how we want life to unfold and in reality, our lives are nowhere near this dream or ideal life.  Nothing and no one is perfect.  While it’s excellent to have goals, visions, and plans, we must also be cautious enough to not bank so much on certain things in the event that they do not play out, or do not play out as we expected. We can make plans, but we are not in full control of what happens to us.

I am thankful for the good and the bad in life and although I may not understand why some things happened the way they did, or why certain things have not come into my life, I am blessed for what I do have and excited for what will come in the future.  There is beauty in not knowing, there is beauty in the strength that comes from challenges and struggles.  There is no such thing as a perfect life, but our life is special and has a purpose even if it doesn’t turn out the way we had expected it to, it’s still a very beautiful gift.

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When Friendship Fades

“You have three types of friends in life: friends for a reason, friends for a season, and friends for a lifetime.” – Ziad K. Abdelnour. Do you ever just sit and ponder life and the past? Maybe you think about past relationships, friendships, jobs, a particularly exciting time, or milestone in life. Sometimes we think of how things could have turned out, or we question if things could have worked out with a certain someone if we had approached things differently.

People come and go, it is a part of life, not one that is easy to accept, but one that does unfortunately happen. When I was younger, losing a friend felt like the end of the world, it filled me with such sadness. I often wondered if there was anything that could have been done to save the friendship, or wondered if I had done something wrong, the same goes for romantic relationships. I would say to myself “If only I had communicated more,” “If only x,y, and z, didn’t bother me so much.”

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Now that I am older, I see a loss of friendships and even relationships in a new light. It is still painful to no longer have someone in your life, but I look at it in a different way and that brings me peace. I truly believe that what is meant to be in our lives will always be. There is nothing that can take away someone or something in our lives that is meant to be there.

Ziad K. Abdelnour’s quote that I mentioned in the intro of this post is really beautiful and I find to be so true. He explains that friends come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. This is true for all people and things in our lives in my opinion. I really believe that certain people are put in our lives for a reason, they are here to teach us, strengthen us, and help us grow. Some people in our lives are here for a season for the same purpose. Not all people in our lives today are meant to stay there for the long haul. My belief is that certain people cross our path for a special and particular purpose. Lastly, we have the friends that are meant to be with us for life, the “family” that we choose, the ones who have been there through everything.

I believe that we should definitely do all that we can do to save a friendship or relationship that we value, however if it feels like you are doing all of the work, try to remember that anything that you have to force probably isn’t supposed to be there in the first place. As hard as having friendships fade over time is, I hope that you find peace in knowing that some people were not always meant to stay in your life, but you will always have the memories, lessons, and you will have experienced growth.

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