I apologize for the sporadic posts of late. I’ve been re-doing my website, writing new copy, adding new goodies and rebranding my site. I can’t wait for everyone to see it and…well, I’m a little nervous, too, for everyone to see it. I must say, though, that all this re-doing has got me thinking about relationships, careers, family legacies and all sorts of transformational topics .
In my work with couples, I’m asked time and again if I believe that people can “really” change. Wives ask if I believe their husbands are capable of making big shifts, husbands doubt their wives will ever significantly change and individuals constantly say that people basically “are who they are,” and they wonder if they have it in them to make serious changes in the way they interact in their world. So…what’s the truth? Can people truly “rebrand” into someone entirely different? Can people make drastic changes that stick for a lifetime? Or are we all destined to show up—more or less—as we always have?
Question #1: Can people truly “rebrand” into someone entirely different?
Answer: The answer to this question is tricky, due to inborn temperaments such as introversion and extroversion. We’re all born with certain propensities that are unlikely to go away. Introverts are unlikely to become extroverted no matter how hard they try, however they are able to become more at ease in social situations. Extroverts are unlikely to grow quiet and enjoy alone time more than socializing, however they are able to appreciate both and learn to hold back a little when necessary. People are capable of making significant changes in how they show up in the world…and…they will do that with their own spin rather than changing into someone “entirely” different.
Question #2: Can people make drastic changes that stick for a lifetime? Or are we all destined to show up—more or less—as we always have? Yes, people can make drastic changes and yes, these changes can last a lifetime—if the person chooses to maintain the changes. Change is a choice. People ask me if I think people can change—is their husband/wife/child even capable of changing? The answer for me is almost universally yes. The more difficult question, though, is, “Will they change?” This question I can’t answer. Change is 100% up to the individual. I’ve seen individuals who I swore would never change shift so drastically that it shocked me. I’ve seen ragers get calm, pleasers learn to stand up, controllers let go and relax their grip, mean-spirited people turn kind and on and on. Most of these changes occurred because there was a lot to lose if these people didn’t make life-altering changes quickly. They knew that their actions were costing them a lot in their lives and, when faced with changing or continuing in the toxic negative patterns they used most of their lives, they chose to be daring enough to change.
Can we rebrand? Yes. Do all of us need to rebrand? No. Sometimes we just need a few alterations here and there to get us on a better path. And sometimes we need to do a large-scale revamping if we want to stop causing havoc in our lives. If you struggle with addiction, rage, lying, cheating, being mean/grumpy/harsh, lack of accountability/defensiveness, then a rebranding is in order. You may have to change the way you think about these issues and your impact on those around you. These issues will end up costing you a great deal in life—if they haven’t already.
If you’re in a relationship with someone who struggles with some of the issues above, don’t worry about whether the person can change, ask yourself if s/he is changing. Put their feet to the fire, be clear you’re not willing to live with this issue in your life anymore and give them an ultimatum—change the issue or lose the relationship. If they choose to change—great, if they refuse to change—move on.
Challenge: Take an honest look at your life, your choices and what it’s like to be in a relationship with you. If you have significant issues that are wreaking havoc in your life and the lives of those around you, it may be time to rebrand.