Yielding to the to winds of change Sometimes the best choice is to do things differently

COPING

July 28, 1992|By Barbara Turk, M.S. | Barbara Turk, M.S.,Contributing Writer

They want you to change. You can't change! Maybe you work too hard, or eat too much, or communicate too little. Whatever the issue, you tell them that's just the way you are.

Not so. Think about two things:

* First, it's not the way you are. It's the way you behave -- a learned way of doing things (you weren't born a work machine, for instance).

* Second, since behavior is learned, you are capable of learning new behavior.

OK, you say, but why should you change?

You might decide to change your behavior if:

* It's in your best interest to do so (overeating and overwork can do nasty things to your health, for instance).

* Healthy relationships are strained because of your actions (your lack of communication can distance a loved one).

Keep in mind, changing destructive behavior takes effort (get professional help if necessary). Yet, if you view the effort as expanding your capabilities rather than merely changing, you can see it for the enrichment of yourself that it truly is.

BarbaraTurk is a psychotherapist in private practice.

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