Is It Possible to Change Your Personality?
Your personality isn’t set in stone. Learn how to identify and break patterns that do not serve you well and what to keep in mind along the way.
We all have things we’d like to change about ourselves. Maybe you’re a bit shy when meeting new people and it limits your interactions with others, or perhaps you’re quick to doubt yourself in the face of adversity. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to treat these characteristics with compassion. However, it’s also important to understand that your personality isn’t set in stone and that it’s possible to improve upon the aspects of your personality that have a negative impact on your life and relationships. Below, we outline what you should keep in mind if you’re looking to make positive changes to your personality and worldview.
To determine whether some aspect of your personality is having a negative effect in your life, ask yourself, “How’s that working for me?”
Sometimes we can be unsure if a specific behavior is negatively affecting our lives—especially when we find ourselves falling back into the same routine. To help identify whether a certain pattern of behavior is hurting your life, ask yourself how it’s working for you, and make a list of any positive outcomes related to the behavior. This exercise is helpful in recognizing that behaviors aren’t beneficial—they just have deep roots and have become habits. Once you recognize this, you can work toward making a change.
Acknowledge that these behaviors are not fixed.
It’s important to know that change is possible, even when you’re in a rut. No matter the circumstance or how stagnant things may seem, you can shift your attitude and actions. If you find yourself thinking that something within your power is impossible, that’s a sign your critical inner voice has taken over. This voice is used as a defense mechanism and is based on negative attitudes we were exposed to early on in life that we identified with and internalized.1
When this voice is triggered, try to notice the pattern and reflect on where it might come from, then do your best to challenge what is being said. Challenging this inner voice can make us feel unsafe because it can mean exposing ourselves to painful aspects of our past, but it is vital to do so to make positive changes and break harmful patterns. Just remember that the patterns of behavior you’d like to improve are not fixed or impossible to alter despite what your inner voice has to say.
Take chances on your actions.
Once you recognize that rigid patterns are based on old, distorted attitudes, straying from your comfort zone becomes easier. Instead of falling into the patterns of behavior that no longer serve you, you can try to enjoy the adventure of attempting something new or approaching something with a different attitude—even if it makes you uncomfortable. The anxiety that accompanies change is natural—you’re challenging the critical inner voice that thinks it’s keeping you safe. But it’s worth working through the anxious moments. Let the nervousness and uncertainty you feel serve as a reminder that you’re headed in the right direction.
Remember to practice self-compassion.
Being kind to yourself is one of the most important things you can do as you work to make positive changes in your life. Identify and reflect on patterns without judgement. Accept that change can feel frightening and uncomfortable. And feel proud of yourself for taking the hard but necessary steps to better yourself. Treating yourself and the process with compassion and empathy allows you to embrace the experience and resist the temptation to revert back to the negative patterns that hinder positive growth.
Prepare for a Career in Psychology by Earning Your Bachelor’s in Psychology at Walden University
If you are looking to gain the knowledge and skills to excel in the field, Walden provides the environment and support you need to earn your psychology degree and jump-start your career. Walden’s BS in Psychology program offers rigorous coursework so that you can develop new perspectives on social awareness and responsibility, civic engagement, cross-cultural competence, and evidence-based decision-making. You can choose from multiple concentrations to focus your online education on the career in psychology you want to pursue. You may even use your BS in Psychology as a stepping-stone for earning an advanced degree, such as an MS in Psychology or a PhD in Psychology. Whatever you decide, Walden’s bachelor’s in psychology program can give you the tools you need to enter the field and prepare you for a meaningful career.
At Walden, an accredited university, you can earn your degree online while you continue to work full time. That means you can better maintain a work-life balance while you advance your skill set. With online learning, there’s no need to completely rearrange your schedule or commute to campus—you can take classes at whatever time of day works best for you as you earn your bachelor’s degree.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering a BS in Psychology, MS in Psychology, and PhD in Psychology degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.