Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Wherever I go, there I am

Years ago, when my reading interests were more eclectic, I once read a book written by Jon Kabat-Zinn titled Wherever You Go, There You Are.

The book’s subtitle read “mindful meditation in everyday life”, but it was the title that captured my interest the most.  These words eventually became a lingering reminder to me that still exists today.  I find myself “chanting” these words in acts of self-talk whenever I’m stuck in my gutter of negative thinking. 

Like how my life would be much better if I made a move from here to there, changed the work I do from this to that, or changed the people in my life who are my sphere of influence from these people to those people.

I learned by repeating this phrase that even if I made all the changes described above, at the end of the day, I would still be stuck with myself, so I’d do better making the best of me in all my daily doings.

But is this true?  Am I really stuck with myself?  Is the way I am the way I’ll be?

I’ve always thought so but an article I read last weekend challenged my conventional thinking.  This article was titled “You (and Your Therapist Can Change Your Personality”.  It began with this: “A question for the ages:  Are you stuck with yourself?”

What followed was a summary of conventional psychology thinking that personalities are so stubborn that once formed, they remain relatively the same.  In other words, we are who we are and we’re stuck with ourselves.

Another group of psychologist thinkers believe that our personalities are so unstable that trying to measure any change is hardly worthwhile.

Recently, a team of researchers wrote an article appearing in a monthly professional psychological journal sharing the results of their analysis of 207 prior studies.  They reported how personality can and does change, and sometimes by a lot.  But guess what?  You’ll need the help of a professional therapist to bring about this change.

This middle-age man has always joked how the job of these psychology therapists is to eventually tell us we’re all nuts.

So, I’ll skip therapy sessions and stick with my self-talk trying to make the best for myself that, inspired by the title of Jon Kabat-Zinn’s book, wherever I go, there I am.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

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