While it is possible to transform our body at the margin, by gaining or losing a few pounds or by working our abdominals, we are often less aware of our ability to change our personality. For a long time, personalities were seen as something rigid and static. For example, a tenacious century-old theory states that once a certain age is reached, around 30 years old, our personality does not change. For psychologist Benjamin Hardy, this can be explained by the fact that once we are in our thirties, our life stabilizes and we often have fewer new experiences. But “By trying new things, your personality will continue to change since you will be out of your comfort zone”, he adds.
For him, the personality of an individual is not fixed, it evolves in a natural way. We could even consciously modify certain traits of our character according to our wishes.
Benjamin Hardy believes that the most important thing is to recognize our capacity to be able to change our personality. This possibility could even be seen as liberating. The problem according to him is not “That we cannot change, but rather that we do not believe we can”, he explains.
Over the last ten years or so, we have been increasingly interested in optimizing our well-being, whether physical or mental. The attraction for meditation, for a better diet, or for sport attests to this. While it can also change some aspects of our personality (for example, if you have a rested head and exercise regularly, you are likely to be more optimistic), the primary goal of these activities is rarely to improve our personality.
A necessary training
According to Wiebke Bleidorn, professor of psychology at the University of California at Davis, each person’s personalities change over the course of their lives: when they enter school, when they move out, through their first romantic relationship, etc. As we age, we also tend to show more self-control and seriousness.
If you want to intentionally change a trait of your character, the professor advises to turn to psychotherapy. It is often thought to be used primarily to treat stress and relationship problems, but Wiebke Bleidorn assures us that this therapy helps to work on the personality of patients.
In order to change certain traits of our character, we need training. “Personality is a skill to be learned, just like learning how to walk”, says Benjamin Hardy. While he admits that certain changes in our personality are harder to achieve than others, the specialist is convinced that work and training allow us to go beyond all limits.
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