Can we change the way we are? Yes. People change over time. What you wanted to do with your day at six years old is likely different than what you spend you time on now. Do people change once they have habits? Only if they truly realize the need, and ability, to do so.
Can people change habits, or even addictions? Yes, people do this all the time too, but they have come to realize that they can do so. They must believe in self and self motivation. The good news is that people CAN believe in self, as surely as they believe in the sun. Once they know it is there, the certainty can be built incrementally, by trusting oneself to keep one’s word, even once. If a person tells him or herself, they have the capability to get out of bed in the morning, they can probably do it.
Here are two tried and true trite sayings: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, and change is the only certainty in life.” Can both of these sayings be accurate?
Yes, they describe tendency, not actuality, of every single individual.
This is of course, a very broad question. Yet, we do change who we are globally, culturally, technically, individually, and so on.
Look at how fashions change over time. Look at how sacred institutions change as well. Once slavery was the norm. Now it is regarded as perverse. Once the idea of complete unwavering devotion to church or king made some people feel secure. Now it is more likely to have them feel oppressed.
Let us look at two bad habits, smoking, and driving cars. These represent both personal, and global, need for change.
Habits, however unhealthy, provide our subconscious (and to some degree our awareness), with a sense of knowing what to expect. Addictions are common in humans for this reason, for example The body adjusts to what it comes to expect, and more and more of a behavior, or a substance, is required for the body to experience the “satisfaction.” we crave. Traditions are merely a form of entrenched, culturally accepted habits. They too, are, in a sense addictions, because our behaviors are performed daily as part of creating a sense of stability. Depending upon a car to get to work, for example, is an entrenched behavior we are so completely overwhelmed with now, that it is hard to believe that just 100 years ago, almost no one on the planet had jobs dependent upon cars!
Accumulative problems occur when the cars, such as with CO2 toxins, do more harm than good. When just a few million had cars, there was no crisis. When billions have cars, that is a lot of fuel, metal, road structure, crashes, and more, to which organisms must accommodate for life to continue.
It is the same with all bad habits. If you feel very strongly you want to change something; if you want to eat better, or exercise more, or stop smoking, you can change by intensity of very strong will. Determination to face dependency, and determination to over-power it, is the only way we change habits. Awareness of smoking just one less cigarette per day provides encouragement.
The surest way to do this is with another person. This is the strength behind such programs as AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) wherein encouraging support is shared.
Get a buddy to start any diet, walking schedule, shopping trips, or anything you wish to improve in your life. No support almost guarantees failure, as we quickly succumb to our mind tapes telling us how easily we “fail.” This crash and burn cycle is easily observed with every change people try to implement, on a personal, to a global scale. Giving up seems so easy, change seems so challenging.
Breaking each habit down to a specific step is extremely helpful. Managing one step is easy. Make a vow for one tiny change. Then give yourself credit when you follow through with that one change. If you want to reduce fat intake, for example, don’t try to give up fat. Just reduce your fat intake by one small portion per day.
Matter changes daily. Your cells are born, replenished, and die. Your body goes from being a child’s body to becoming an adult body. Internally, and externally, change drives the cycles of circulating fluids, burning fuels, hydraulics, distribution, and all that happens every moment. Humans, by our need for definition and certainty, tend to separate entities. We think of our water molecules as being separate from the rain, or tap water molecules, even though they join and merge endlessly. We add toxins to the water, not realizing we are the water. We change that habit when the realization changes.
Change, then requires us to learn Nature’s power and wisdom. We need to see what we share with all other entities, and not just what systems are in us, but what larger macro systems we are part of too. Understanding how change operates is what allows us to change our habits. We can forever improve and re-adjust to changing conditions. It is environment that drives evolution. In modern times human beings greatly impact the environment. It is a new world in this sense, because there are 7 billion of us.
We need to look at our environment. Is it clean, calming, pure, healthy, diverse? Or do we need to change habits to ensure we are creating diversity, health, less stress, and more efficient use of resources? Stress, conflict, trash, toxins, and waste, internally, externally, in culture, and in mind and spirit, are sign posts that alert us to implement behavioral change.
The fact of natural laws and history show that change is needed. Change is constant, and change will come, the real question is can we change in ways that make our individual lives, and our global lives improved, or at risk?