This particular phrase is widespread and is used to justify all sorts of behavior and ideas. And it probably is true today, but the problem is that there is usually no thinking room available to those with this belief. Just because I am a particular way now does not imply that I will be or have to be that way this afternoon. Unfortunately, the possibility of change is usually not even considered by those voicing the words, "That is the way I am" and its close relative, "That's the way we've always done it." The most important question that needs to follow that phrase is, "Do I want to continue to be that way?" Do I want to continue to have that particular unhappiness, that addiction, that low self-esteem, that depression or that loneliness? All too frequently, we deny the possibility for change and therefore it doesn't happen, becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The possibilities for change are much greater than we typically envision. If your spiritual/religious systems of beliefs cause you distress, then consider changing them! If you respond emotionally in unhappy ways, then you can always change your emotional responses, if you are willing to really look at yourself. Consider adopting the following ultimate belief in self-responsibility: if I am unhappy, then I need to change myself. There are things that are usually not possible to change (e.g., some physical characteristics, sexual orientation and overall personality characteristics). On the other hand, it is always possible to change your actions and your emotions, if the choice is made to do so. If you hear the phrase "That is the way I am," be on the lookout for rigid thinking and being stuck.
© 2008 by Thayer White
Finding Your Soul in the Spirituality Maze
|Excerpt from Be Your Own Therapist: "As an example, consider a person with many similar experiences such as severe and mild abandonments over the course of a lifetime. Trauma knots associated with abandonment will probably be very resistant to loosening for this person. Untying those abandonment knots may seem impossible."|