Life Perceived by Me

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Human Behavior

on January 12, 2013

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Can people change?

Seems like a simple concise question but with many long complicated answers. I found this reply to this same question on a Human Behavior site, it was posted by a posted wishing to stay anonymous otherwise I’d give credit where credit is due. Probably not the most reliable site for scientific information but his reply was … well I liked it.

“Yes, people can and do really change. We have neuroplasticity, which enables us to become whatever we can bring ourselves to be. Usually, in my 20 years of experience with families, people really do change but it takes a paradigm shift. That is, they have to believe something very different than what they formerly believed, and act on their new beliefs. The creation of new beliefs and actions based on them creates a new systemic approach to everything related to those beliefs. And so, people do change. . .”

these statements were followed by examples of a drunk becoming sober or an abuser seeing the error of there ways and doing better. This person continues to add the following point.

“…..The paradigm shift occurred when they discovered their behavior caused harm to someone they love. They didn’t want those ripples emanating from their pond.

And people change — really change — when they perceive an advantage will accrue if they do change. They just have to understand what it is and — poof! — with a paradigm shift, they’re almost there. When they take action in furtherance of that paradigm shift, they reinforce it and continue on the new path.

Never give up hope about anyone. We can really change. It is human nature to want to improve. All that’s needed is motivation through a paradigm shift, and action in furtherance of new beliefs”

Sure we’ve all seen examples of change in and about our life but why is it when it comes to certain situations we won’t have a thing to do with even the idea? A cheating spouse for example or a past criminal. Most of us when faced with the claim that “I’ve changed.” and its is coming out of the mouth of a loved one accused of breaking your heart or a kid known for mayhem we quickly ‘write it off’ per-say as a lie.

Maybe we don’t see it as an intentional fib. Maybe we even wish it to be true so much so that it nearly creates pangs of sadness to rise in our heart of hearts. Yet we choose to do away with such thoughts of change being even a possibility.

I am guilty of this. My choice to do this has given me more heartache then the betrayal of misplaced trust. When does the phrase ‘Fool me once shame on you; fool me twice shame on me’ come into play and how do we play that hand without prejudice?

Practicing being wary of a person who hurt you in the past so as to not be caught again unawares is very important. However this can become a defense mechanism that is over used causing a persons heart to be hardened and distrust to infiltrate every relationship. I have experienced the destructive repercussions of a good practice gone too far. It makes for a very lonesome life.

How do you teach this concept?

Is there a way to teach forgiveness and the idea of change whilst teaching caution? I don’t want history to repeat itself. I want my children to know how to guard the fragile heart with in them. That heart craves love, acceptance, trust, camaraderie and so much more. This seems so difficult to find. Honesty and integrity seem to be lost lessons in the upbringing of children therefore lost in adults. True respect and selflessness are characteristics of a chump or someone used and abused, or so its been seen more often then not. Phrases such as ‘Nice guys finished last’ referring to a with unassertive personality traits in the context of female relationships, originally coming from Baseball and having nothing to do with relationships, make teaching the concept of being a loving slightly soft hearted person a horrible thing. In reality a balance needs to be struck between being kind and being tough. I personally have a rough time with that balance myself.

However this is what I intend to teach both my daughter and my son. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect, in the sense of common courtesy. Humanity although rare in today’s world is something that needs to be practiced. They do not have the right to judge people on past actions even if said people judge them. Rising above the majority, mob or herd mentality isn’t always easy but its best to think for oneself. Yes, giving people the benefit of the doubt doesn’t and won’t always work out to your advantage but it makes you a good person. Some will take advantage of it and others will prove that true humanity does exist. Just be the best person you can be, lead by example.

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