Can People Really Change?
The purpose of this article is to provide a context to understanding how people can change. How much can a person change? As a hypnotist I get asked to help people make changes in their lives. The changes I’m asked to help with vary in size, depth and dimension. Here is a list of things I’ve been asked to to help people change:
- Quit smoking
- Improve eating habits
- Stop abusing alcohol
- Build a Feeling of Confidence
- Improve athletic performance
- … the list goes on…
In spite of the amazing changes I’ve seen people make, I still wonder “Can People Really Change”?
The Ship of Theseus
The Ship of Theseus is a thought experiment about whether an object (or person) that has had all of its original components replaced remains the same object (or person). If a car continues to be repaired until all it’s original parts are replaced is it the same car? Likewise, is a person who committed a horrific crime in their youth still the same person at the age of 80? That final questions goes to the heart of our personal ability to see people as more than an accumulation of actions.
No Simple Answers
One way of addressing the question is to agree that a person is different/more than all their components and all their history of actions and behaviors. My personal experience is that a person can be identified for having done something good or bad in their life but they should be seen as something more.
I’m Not That Person Anymore
Years ago I used to smoke. I quit many times but would start back up after a few weeks. How I finally quit was not about changing my behavior, but changing how I thought of myself. As much as I might have excused my smoking I didn’t like thinking of myself as a smoker. The final successful attempt to quit smoking came when I started to see myself as someone different. Every time I considered smoking I would remind myself “I am not that person anymore”. Every time I affirmed “I’m not that person any more” my back would straighten and I felt empowered to live up to those words. This is a useful tool to anyone who wants to make changes.
People have made life changing positive decisions over the course of a 60 minute hypnosis session. Several of these people suffered from crippling alcoholism have become free from addictive compulsions.
What This Means To You
An occultist once told me “On this journey it is assured you will change. But you may not become who you intended“. Adapting to the becoming a person you hadn’t intended demands a certain humility and strength. Asking yourself questions about change helps provide different points of view about what it mean to be human. Change is certain. You will change into …. something, but you will still be YOU. Being able to see ourselves flexibly allows us to guide the changes that we want and adapt to the changes we didn’t anticipate.
If you are looking to improve yourself, consider the kind of person you will be when those changes are made. You are working to become that person and moving away from who you are now. When you think of the behaviors you want to change and remind yourself “I’m not that person anymore” you are building a path in that direction.
Having been a smoker for 52 yrs I was skeptical hypnosis would actually work for me. I got a hold of David at NH Hypnosis and scheduled an appointment which consisted of 3 sessions of hypnosis. It was a very relaxing and soothing experience but even better it worked! Since that first visit I have not only stopped smoking I don’t even think about smoking. No anxiety no withdrawal symptoms. It was like magic. I should have done this many years ago! Thank you David Barron!