Nature or nurture - is it just how you are, or a habit that can be changed?
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Lin Travis MBACP(Accred)
30th November, 20130 Comments
When we think about how we are, we might ask ourselves if it has to be this way. Do we have to be so anxious; is it inevitable to suffer from low moods; do we always have to feel doomed to avoid difficult situations?
If we think that the answer to these questions is that we do have to be this way, then perhaps we have to grit our teeth and just try to carry on...but how about if things can change or, more to the point, if we can change?
We all have our individual differences and can respond differently to situations and circumstances. This may be partly due to our genetic pre-dispositions, making us more likely to react or respond one way more than another. It may also be the result of our life experiences, and what messages we have taken in from these. Both our pre-dispositions and accumulating experiences may interact; and so we develop preferred ways of being. These become habits and, perhaps, ingrained habits...
However, this is not the same as saying something has to be the case - not the same as saying that it is inevitable. This is a really important distinction to make - the difference between what has to be, and what is an ingrained habit (however difficult to change).
In other words, perhaps we have choice or freedom to choose. It might be a difficult choice to make, but that is a world away from saying something is impossible. If we feel we have the freedom to make choices in our lives, we begin to feel we have more control in situations – healthy control that allows us to feel better in ourselves.
I am not saying that this is an easy change to make. However, I am saying that you might think it worthwhile to give some thought to the possibility of things being different for you. This shift towards believing that change can be possible can open doors leading to new ways of thinking about your circumstances and about how you see yourself. This can be an empowering experience in itself.
Counselling can provide a space to not only reflect on how we are now, but also what we may allow ourselves to become. Seeing that change may be possible for us is the first step.
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