Can a person change his nature? (5 steps to change)

In this brief guide, we will discuss the question “can a person change his nature”, and other things related to change and personality.

Can a person change his nature?

You may ask “Can a person change his nature?” when you have just gotten completely tired of someone in your life and you just feel lost about what you should do because you cannot leave the situation, but there is hope because there is indeed research that suggests that a person can change their nature.

When we answer the question of can a person change their nature we need to keep in mind that some innate things about a person may never change, like their primitive needs and their drives, but some of their motivations may be changed, and most of the human behavior can be changed in amazing ways.

Human behavior is a subject of study for many researchers all over the world, and they study what techniques may be used in changing human behavior, among which Behaviorist theories have gained great momentum over the past decades.

Currently one of the best methods of changing someone’s behavior or nature is psychotherapy, and among all the schools of thought in psychotherapy the on that has seen the most success in changing a person’s nature or behavior has been cognitive behavioral therapy or behavior therapy.

How to Change your Nature?

The first step to changing your nature is to first get to know yourself; this may be done in many ways, you might talk to a therapist online, you might try to take some personality tests online or in-person with a psychologist and get a sense of your personality, or you may have good and honest conversations with people you are closest to in your life.

If you do use any online resources you need to take everything you learn with a grain of salt and you need to also corroborate the information with a family member or partner or friends because personality assessment is a complicated process and while online resources are easily available and they tend to help out in giving you a basic idea of who you are and who you might be, they are not a substitute for the real-world experience that can be reliable and validated.

After you have gotten to know yourself fairly well, you may look through this tips given below to get a sense of what you can do without a therapist, and on your own, to change your nature for the better.

  • Deconstruct your nature into the component parts and figure out smaller goals you want to achieve or smaller traits you want to change. For example, if you want to be more active, can try to get up slightly earlier, by maybe an hour earlier than usual to start with and go for a run or a walk or just do something basic at your home itself. Change comes from small steps.
  • Assess the result of changing your behavior in little steps and continue what works for you and don’t push yourself towards what doesn’t.
  • Get as much positive reinforcement as you can, it is the best way of changing your behavior.
  • Always make sure you prepare for problems when trying to change your nature and don’t be discouraged when you run into issues, because changing your nature or behavior is a big deal and cannot be problem-free.
  • Learn more about your nature even along the way, don’t stop the process of self-discovery just because you have started.
  • Provide structure and organization to what you are trying to do, don’t just decide to haphazardly do things and figure it out as you go.
  • Practice makes perfect, and you also need to practice the change in your nature in social settings and in your interpersonal situations.
  • Make sure you don’t fall into old ways after you change your nature by avoiding triggers or situations from the previous days like an addict might avoid their stressors and things related to the substance they are addicted to.
  • Aim for small successes and form smaller goals, big goals, and big pictures may be daunting and keep you from achieving the goals you want and thereby changing your nature.

How to change the nature of another person?

The bigger problem with trying to change the nature of another person is that they may not always welcome this change, whereas when it is just you, you may try and assess the things you are doing for yourself.

One thing you can do to change the nature and behavior of another person is to try some techniques from the Behavior theory or Behavior therapy, which are subtle but may bring about good results.

Behavior therapy is used extensively to change behaviors that are destructive or hurtful to other people in any way, and which harm the person who is engaging in them as well.

The key principles in behavior theory are Reinforcement and punishment, although punishment is rarely suggested by psychologists and we will not be discussing that either, as there are better ways of changing someone’s behavior.

The main principle you may use when trying to change someone’s behavior is Positive Reinforcement, which is extremely simple, and just involves rewarding someone’s behavior in a way that the person likes but also does not notice as a reward at the same time, otherwise, the chances are they might do tha behavior solely for the purpose of getting the reward.

The purpose of positive reinforcement is to create a sense in the person of liking the behavior we want them to do, so if we want a child to stop yelling, instead of yelling back when they yell, we give them something they would like every time they ask for things without yelling or stop yelling on their own without intervention from an adult.

A good example of positive reinforcement is money that we get for doing a job, and it is one of the simplest nd most common reinforcements in the world.

Getting paid regularly for a job that we are doing causes feelings of well-being and feeling like we are being productive because we have tangible proof of having worked at something.

Another example of reinforcement that is not quite so tangible is praise, which one might see in a special education teacher when she is dealing with a child with autism who is being disruptive in class.

She may not pay attention to him when he is being disruptive but the minute he quiets down she may direct her attention to him, reinforcing to him the idea that he can get her attention when he’s quietly asking for what he wants, thereby changing his behavior.

This is actually an example of differential reinforcement, and it is used very frequently with children and adults alike, especially in cases where there is a behavior that needs to be eradicated and good behavior needs to take its place.

There are many ways of applying reinforcements, and you may read about the various techniques here.

Can People Change? A look at Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Another therapy used to answer the question of can people change is cognitive behavior therapy, which mixes the notions of behavior therapy with the idea that changing someone’s thoughts can bring about change in their nature as well as behavior.

The proponent of cognitive behavior therapy was Aaron Beck, and he has made some amazing breakthroughs with this therapy and changed the nature and behaviors of many people, not just those who were suffering from mental health illnesses.

This therapy was created specifically keeping patients suffering from depression in mind, and even though it started there, it has since been applied to a plethora of situations.

Cognitive Behavior therapy considers beinging about the origninal change in the following:

  • Automatic Thoughts
  • Intermediate Beliefs
  • Schemas

Schemas are supposed to be the deepest level, and they tend to be long-held concepts about the self that is unlikely to change in just a matter of a few days or weeks, and they can also not be changed directly because they develop over many years, and these are what most people are talking about when they say “nature”.

Intermediate belief is the belief that drives thoughts about oneself, and it comes from schemas, and it may be thought of as a bridge between schemas and thoughts, and it may be slightly easier to change than schemas.

An automatic thought is exactly what it sounds like, a happening in your brain that then causes emotions or behavior, and therefore the idea is that changing your automatic thoughts may lead to changing behavior or emotions.

A prominent concept that this theory is known for is Negative Automatic Thoughts, which may be incessant and the person may barely recognize them as such because the emotion they cause is so intense that little else is felt.

Negative automatic thoughts are prevalent in depression, most of all, and they are often responsible for the low mood people feel and the constant feelings of shame and guilt they tend to experience.

An example of the Schema-intermediate belief-thought model may be the following:

Someone was encouraged constantly as a child and they internalized the idea that they are good at whatever they do, which may cause the intermediate belief that they can do anything, and the thought that might result from this in a situation where they are faced with a challenge may be “nothing can stop me”.

The result of this thought maybe an emotion of confidence and the behavior may reflect an action that goes towards resolving the problem,

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we discussed the question “can a person change his nature”, and other things related to change and personality. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or comments you may have.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Can a person change his nature?

Is it possible to change your nature?

Yes, it is possible to change your nature, even though you might think that your nature is an inherent part of you and will never change.

The truth is our nature changes considerably from childhood to the time we get old, due to external as well as internal causes, and therefore it is more pliable than most people tend to think, which means that it is also possible to change it.

Can a person change his character?

Yes, a person can change his character, but only to a certain extent and only with the help of others around them.

Can we change who we are?

Yes, we can change who they are.

It has been shown by many psychological theories like behavior theory and cognitive behavior theory, that it is actually more possible to change who we are than most people think, and in most cases, the most difficult part fo changing who we tend to be deciding that we want to change.

Can you change your entire personality?

It is not possible to change your entire personality but you can change many aspects of your personality.

The best way to change your personality is to take a look at your entire personality and decide which aspects are particularly troublesome and change those.

Citations

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/collections/201212/change-your-nature

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/200401/reinvention-how-be-perfect?collection=112406

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/200209/the-10-rules-change?collection=112406

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-power-prime/201201/personal-growth-know-thyself-is-the-first-step-life-change?collection=112406

Divya is currently a Clinical Psychology Trainee in a Master of Philosophy program and holds a Master’s in clinical psychology. She has a special interest in Personality studies and disorders, having researched the subject before, and Neuropsychology; with an additional interest being Mood disorders. She likes to write about Psychiatric issues, having worked in multiple specialty setups during her time as a clinical psychology student, and in her free time she likes to cook and read.

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