Don’t Fight the Pendulum: Let Yourself Be
We struggle so hard to change. From all around us we hear the message that we need to change, we need to get better, and that the way we currently do things is not good enough. We get this message from the media, our workplace, and even the people that love us. Whilst their intentions might be good, the effect on us can be just the opposite. Do you always need to stop and let yourself be?
Doing what others suggest might be good…
It's probably true to say that at least some of the changes that other people ask us to make would probably do us some good. We might be healthier, easier to live with or perhaps even happier. If we made some of these changes we might never look back.
…but it's hard to work against your nature.
But this isn't the whole story. Making changes is hard and can require levels of effort beyond what we currently have to give. Further, some changes just seen so against our nature that we find them hard to even think about. If you are an introvert, you might imagine yourself happier if you were an extrovert but wishing yourself to be other than what you are is more likely a recipe for misery – and the harder we try the harder it is.
I liken this to pushing against a pendulum. We can push it a little bit off its centre, but the higher we push it the harder it gets – the pendulum always wants to swing back.
Let the pendulum swing
Whilst it isn't true for all things, for some things you might be better letting the pendulum swing in the direction it wants to swing. To take the example of introversion again, rather than forcing yourself to be more sociable, try allowing yourself to be as reclusive as you'd like for a while, and really experience it just like you imagined it. Chances are, given enough time on your own, you'll come to a point where you'll seek out other people of your own accord when you're ready. Let yourself be, and eventually you will self-correct.
Finding out who you are
Psychotherapy can help you with the process of finding out who you really are, what you really want and addressing what can be the biggest problem – allowing yourself to do what feels right for you in the face of opposition.
I'd be interested in what you thought about this – please let me know in the comments below.
– Tim Hill
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