How to change myself? is a question I often grappled with within my own life as I struggled in my relationships at work and in my personal life. Therefore, feeling terrible about myself and who I was.
So, why today I want to tackle this question as I know I’m not alone in my asking of this question and want to support you in how you go about it after having discovered for myself what was needed.
First off, give yourself a pat on the back for being brave and courageous enough to admit you want to change yourself.
Since as Leo Tolstoy says, no one thinks of changing themselves but rather how they can change the world, which often takes the form of wanting everyone else and everything else around them to change.
Instead of realising there may be thoughts, feelings, beliefs, habits and behaviours, which they need to change within themselves first before they can see changes in their life, and at the same time, change the world.
Therefore, the fact you’re asking this question and are seeking to change yourself is a very good positive first step in the right direction.
And why I want to support you in understanding what’s stopping you currently from changing yourself and what steps you can take to improve yourself because it’s people like you who the world needs more and more of.
So, let’s get started.
How do I change myself: What it means?
For a long-time, I wanted to change myself because I believed ‘there was something wrong with me’, something wrong with my personality, my upbringing, past experiences, the way I looked, dressed, talked, sounded and that’s why I didn’t fit in with other people, why I was failing in my career, had barely any friends, no partner, you name it.
And you too currently might be thinking you want to change yourself because you believe ‘There’s something wrong with you’ and that’s why you can’t get the things you say you want in life.
However, what I discovered on my journey to changing myself was ‘THERE IS (AND NEVER WAS) ANYTHING WRONG WITH ME’ and that changing myself wasn’t actually about CHANGING MYSELF at all but rather about uncovering and getting rid of all the false beliefs, ideas and interpretations I’d formed about myself, my life, life itself and others based on all the experiences I’d encountered in my life.
As a result, this too is the challenge for you, to uncover and get rid of all your false beliefs, ideas and interpretations about yourself, your life, life itself and others based on all your past experiences.
What change is not?
I know this sounds counterintuitive since the question is how to change myself, which would affirm your belief ‘there is something wrong with you’.
And, if there’s nothing wrong with you, why you would need to change?
Well, the truth is it’s all the false beliefs, ideas and interpretations about yourself, your life, life itself and others that you’ve formed based on all your past experiences that there is something wrong with and are holding you back from getting what you want in life.
However, those false beliefs, ideas and interpretations aren’t who you really are at your core (i.e. peace, love, joy), regardless of your past experiences. And so, that’s where you need to draw the line as they are separate from who you are at your core. Therefore, are the real things standing in the way of you getting what you want in life.
A metaphor for your false beliefs, ideas and interpretations
A good way of viewing these false beliefs, ideas and interpretations are a bit like collecting and carrying around with you a heavy sack of stones for 20 years that you thought were an important part of you and you needed for your own safety and protection, but turns out you don’t need them in the slightest.
I mean imagine how heavy that would be because that’s exactly what these false beliefs, ideas and interpretations are like. They just don’t seem so heavy because they’re in you’re head in the form of ‘thoughts’ and invisible to your eye.
Why is it so hard to change myself?
It’s, therefore, for that reason too why changing and working on yourself is so hard because you don’t know what you don’t know. You don’t know how the false beliefs, ideas and interpretations you’ve formed are hurting you and are holding you back in getting what you want in life.
Until, that is, you make the courageous decision to explore them as I discuss in full detail in my post on WHAT YOU NEED TO DO TO MAKE LIFE BETTER.
And so like any skill you learn, because it is a skill, it’s going to take you a while (years) to do.
Especially because as you seek to change yourself, certain beliefs, thoughts and feelings will start to kick in and talk you out of changing yourself.
Beliefs about who you are (and are not) and around change itself
Belief #1: Can I change who I am?
The question ‘Can I change who I am?’ is a common question you’re likely knowingly or unknowingly asking yourself, which implies that maybe you don’t believe you can change who you are.
Maybe you believe who you are is who you are and is set in stone.
Therefore, is one of the biggest hurdles you’ll face in working to change yourself.
However, it’s important for you to know that you can change the false beliefs, ideas and interpretations you have made over the course of your life. It will simply take time, effort (lots of effort) and dedication, alongside the openness and willingness to have a change in perspective.
LEARN MORE: TRANSFORM YOUR LIFE BY CHANGING THIS ONE BELIEF
Belief #2: If you’re not seeing immediate results it’s not working
Since you’re at the stage where you want to change yourself and haven’t yet gone through the whole process, it’s easy to think if you’re not seeing immediate massive transformative results and changes in your life with something new you’re trying, then it mustn’t be working.
As a result, quitting more easily.
However, it’s important for you to realise that if the thing you’re trying makes you feel good, whether that’s a little bit better or a lot better, then you have found something truly worth sticking with.
So is worth you putting in the time and effort for you to be able to see results in years to come (up to a maximum of 5 years), not months.
And if the new thing your trying doesn’t make you feel good or a little bit better then you have to throw it out. However, before you can make that decision, you have to of course give it a good go, monitoring how it makes you feel overtime before deciding to throw it out.
Belief #3: You can change your life working with your conscious mind alone
Another of your beliefs may be that you are capable of changing yourself and incidentally your life, with your conscious mind alone, through reading self-help and personal development books and articles or watching Youtube video’s.
However, as research has found and I talk more about in my complete guide on what you need to do to make life better, your conscious mind only accounts for 1% of your change.
Therefore, working with your conscious mind alone isn’t enough to change yourself.
LEARN MORE: HOW DO I FIND MY PASSION AND MOTIVATION?
Belief #4: Your unworthy
When you believe ‘there’s something wrong with you’, what you’re really saying is you don’t believe in your own self-worth, which means you don’t love yourself either.
Or at least if you think you love yourself, there are parts of you (not visible to your eye yet), which you don’t love about yourself. Therefore, why you’re really looking to change yourself.
The result of believing you are unworthy
Believing you’re unworthy, however, has one snag to it, which is that it will make you want to run and hide from any struggles you are facing.
That is, any thoughts, feelings, false beliefs/ideas/interpretations, reactions, behaviours, actions and habits you engage in, which if you were to admit to and accept about yourself would help you to improve yourself, but the part in you that feels unworthy is so afraid to admit and accept them in case doing so will hurt you even more than you are already hurting, that it doesn’t want to admit and accept them. So it runs and hides in order to protect you.
When the truth is, yes visiting and exploring these in-depth would initially hurt, but the opposite is true. If you were to raise awareness of them, constantly visiting them over and over again as they arose, over time what you’re struggling with would begin to fade away and hearing the truth will not be as hard to hear.
Therefore, allowing you to replace them with thoughts, feelings, beliefs/ideas/interpretations, reactions, behaviours, actions and habits that are more constructive to you and your life.
As a result, before and during the process of changing yourself and getting rid of your false beliefs, ideas and interpretations, it’s vital you notice when you want to run and hide from looking at certain thoughts, feelings, beliefs, reactions, behaviours, actions and habits in you because it’s in these moments you know you’re close to change and the struggle you’re touching on is one you need to visit in order to overcome it, instead of running away from it.
LEARN MORE: HOW TO FIND YOUR WORTH AND WHY IT MATTERS
Ignoring your feelings and emotions
Other than your beliefs, what else makes change hard is ignoring your difficult feelings and emotions, instead of dealing with them.
So you either bottle and suppress them to the point you explode and take them out on others, which only makes things 10 x worse since not only does it make you feel bad, but it also hurts others and your relationships.
As a result, to be able to change yourself, it’s incredibly important you do not ignore your feelings and emotions, no matter how difficult they might be to acknowledge and admit to.
And most importantly, that you do not ignore the beliefs behind them.
The final thing that makes change hard is the negative influences in your life.
What does negative influence mean?
Negative influences are people who hold you back when you are trying to move forward in your life by influencing you to act and behave in certain ways that aren’t true to who you are as a person. Therefore, hurting you, no one else, in the long run.
So for instance, you decide you want to start eating healthily or you want to be a vegan and instead of providing you with support and encouragement with phrases like ‘good for you’, they instead judge, criticise and make you feel embarrassed and ashamed for making that decision.
Therefore, you decide to stop doing it because their words have cut deep into the part of you, which might already be thinking, feeling and believing what they have said to you.
As a result, overriding the part of you that wants to make positive changes in your life and to improve yourself.
Spotting negative influences in your life
Spotting negative influences in your life is difficult, but not impossible.
The reason for this is when you’ve spent so much time around certain people (I’m thinking about family members here, but it can equally also apply to friends) it’s easy to get used to them acting and behaving in certain ways that it becomes natural and normal to us. And we can’t see them as negative influences in our lives.
Therefore, why it’s important we intentionally and purposefully look for positive influences to inform our lives to be able to spot them, as the two are in stark contrast to each other.
Before you work on yourself: Two commitments to make
So now you know why change is so hard, there are two commitments you need to make to yourself to be able to change yourself and your life.
These include the commitment to take responsibility for both your unfavourable:
1) Thoughts, feelings, beliefs/ideas/interpretations, reactions, habits and behaviours toward yourself, your life, others and the world around you
2) And the life choices you’ve made, which you aren’t so proud of. In other words, your past regrets.
The reason for this is committing to take responsibility for them means you have no way out and so you have to face them whether you like it or not.
And when you feel like running the part of you that says ‘No, I want to change myself, I will change myself’ wins over the part of you who wants to take the easy road and quit.
Before you work on yourself commitment #1? Honesty with yourself
To take on responsibility for your thoughts, feelings and beliefs/ideas/interpretations, reactions, habits and behaviours, therefore, you have to become really honest with yourself as I talk more about in my post PART ONE: HOW TO TAKE ON RESPONSIBILITY FOR CHANGING THE OUTCOME OF YOUR LIFE?
This in itself is difficult because if you were part of a family where it didn’t feel safe for you to express your thoughts and feelings for fear of judgement and criticism, like I talk about in my post EVER BEEN BULLIED? 4 REASONS WHY THERAPY IS IMPORTANT being honest with yourself isn’t going to come easy to you.
Therefore, it will require training and rewiring of your mind to realise that expressing your thoughts and feelings is safe now you’re an adult. And if you’re thoughts and feelings are judged and criticised you have the power to say something about how this makes you feel, whilst also recognising someone’s response to you isn’t about you, it’s about them. So you don’t need to take what other people say and do towards you personally.
Before you work on yourself commitment #2? Life choices
Once you start becoming really honest with yourself about what you’re thinking, feeling and believing on a frequent basis, at the same time, you can start to take on responsibility for your life choices too and the real reason behind why you made the choices you did.
But that’s all easier said than done right? So what are the steps you need to take to be able to do these?
How to take responsibility and work on yourself? Work with a therapist to learn about yourself
As Roy Bennett’s quote above says, to change yourself you have to step outside your comfort zone and since most people see working with a therapist as a threat to them, and not something they want to do (not you of course because you’re one of those people willing to give the recommendations of others a chance to see if they work for you too), it’s exactly this I suggest you do.
However, I’m not suggesting you work with any therapist, I’m suggesting you work with a Counselling Psychotherapist in particular.
Learn more about what’s different about working with a Counselling Psychotherapist in my post here >>> 12 SKILLS TO LEARN JUST BY BEING YOU (AND WHERE TO LEARN THEM)
Learning about yourself through taking on responsibility working with a Counselling Psychotherapist?
When talking about your thoughts and feelings wasn’t something you felt comfortable and safe doing in your family growing up, it’s likely you learnt to engage in behaviours, which meant running away, distracting and avoiding them.
Therefore, through working with a Counselling Psychotherapist and engaging in the tools they provide you with over a period of between 3 and 5 years to learn about yourself, such as the ones I talk about in my post on 4 MIND-BLOWING TOOLS THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR WORLD AND HELP YOU TO OVERCOME PAST REGRETS, you will begin to start changing these learnt behaviours, and replacing them with new and productive ones.
As they’ll support you in building a safety cushion where you can say and ask anything you want and not get judged or criticised for it. However, as I say, it will take you time to get to this place with your therapist since this will not feel comfortable to you in the slightest based on your past family experiences.
LEARN MORE: 3 TOOLS TO GROW OUTSIDE THERAPY SESSIONS
How to change myself working with a Counselling Psychotherapist? Changing your daily routine
At the minute, it’s also likely you’re unhappy with who you are and want to change yourself because you’re unhappy with your daily routine and the results your daily routine is giving you in your life.
But since you’ve been doing it for so long, you can’t see what exactly it is about your routine you don’t like or that’s stopping you from getting the things you want in life.
Therefore, a Counselling Psychotherapist will support you in seeing the people, places, experiences and activities you engage in on a daily basis through a different perspective.
Through encouraging you to listen to how you feel when you are around particular people in your life and how you feel about the activities and experiences you are engaging in. And providing you with advice and guidance on how to approach them.
As a result, supporting you to change yourself and your life as you begin to make new life choices.
Implementing even more tools into your life
Once you see what parts of your daily routine are making you unhappy and dissatisfied, slowly removing them one by one from your life with the emotional support of your therapist and you get yourself into a rhythm of dedicating yourself to the 4 Mind-Blowing tools that will change your world and help you to overcome past regrets, you’ll begin to implement even more personal development tools too into your daily routine since you’ll realise the power of them.
For instance, you might begin adding affirmations (i.e. mantras) to your already existing mediation practice or start repeating them to yourself silently throughout the day.
Alternatively, and if it feels comfortable to you, you might begin to start implementing visualisations into your already existing meditation practice.
Although, of course, if either of the two don’t feel comfortable to you, you can choose to skip them and choose different ones instead.
How to improve myself working with a Counselling Psychotherapist? The motivation to act
Since changing yourself (with or without a therapist) is hard, all of the above, along with the connection you build with your therapist, will give you an extra dose of motivation to take action towards changing yourself and your life.
As you will experience someone who is wholeheartedly in your corner and wants to help and see you succeed, in ways maybe not even your friends and family want you to.
What’s the benefit of working to change myself with a Counselling Psychotherapist?
There are four things you’ll experience over time by taking on responsibility and working to change yourself with a Counselling Psychotherapist:
- Peace of mind
- Connection and belonging
- An increase in status
- The satisfaction of knowing you did it yourself
1. Peace of mind
You’ll experience peace of mind because you’ll realise you’re not the only one struggling, others too experience the same difficulties. And you’ll know you have someone to count on, to trust, to talk to about your troubles without the fear of being told off or of being misunderstood, judged and criticised.
And if you take an action that doesn’t work out the way you want it to, you know you have somebody to soften the emotional blow that that action takes on you.
As a result, giving you the courage and confidence to make changes you would never have been able to make without their support.
2. Connection and belonging
The peace of mind you receive, in turn, will allow you to feel a sense of connection and belonging to yourself, your therapist and others.
Since without peace of mind you cannot feel connection and belonging, instead all you feel is disconnection, conflict and intolerable suffering.
3. An increase in status
Furthermore, because you feel peace of mind, connection and belonging, you’ll also be able to experience an increase in your status (i.e. the way you feel about youself, your life and what you can achieve).
For instance, you might decide to start your own business, when in this moment in time the possibility of you doing that might seem slim to none.
4. The satisfaction of knowing you did it yourself
Whilst the job of a Counselling Psychotherapist is to support you in changing yourself and your life, they cannot take the actions they recommend for you. That I’m afraid is down to you.
However, the benefit of this is when you look back over the changes you’ve made as a result of working with a Counselling Psychotherapist you will feel proud because you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you took the actions yourself.
Think of it a bit like when you’re a kid and you learn something new for the first time, such as, ride a bike and how that feels because that’s exactly how you’ll feel by going through the therapeutic process and sticking with it for up to between 3 and 5 years.
Summary: How to change myself?
So there it is.
The answer to your question ‘How to change myself?’.
Firstly, acknowledging what change is and is not and why it’s so difficult to change in order for you to be able to watch out for them and avoid them when they do arise.
Secondly, committing to yourself that you will take responsibility for your unfavourable thoughts, feelings, beliefs/ideas/interpretations, actions, habits and behaviours through becoming really honest with yourself about what these are and the life choices you have made.
And finally looking at how working with a Counselling Psychotherapist, specifically, will support you in achieving this since knowing what you need to do and doing it is far easier said than done.
Now over to you…
I would love to know what you’ve done so far to change yourself and your life and what you’re thoughts are on enlisting the support of a Counselling Psychotherapist. So let me know in the comments section below.
And don’t forget to subscribe to my email newsletter to ensure you stay in the know about how working with a Counselling Psychotherapist will support you to develop personally and professionally.
- A COMPLETE GUIDE ON WHAT YOU NEED TO DO TO MAKE LIFE BETTER
- HOW TO FIND THE REAL YOU (AND STOP BEING FED UP WITH LIFE)
- TRANSFORM YOUR LIFE BY CHANGING THIS ONE BELIEF