No one is perfect. Every human being has strengths, weaknesses, and facets of our personalities that we would like to improve. And yet we wonder, are there things about ourselves that will never change? While many personality traits may seem unmoving, often with perseverance, perspectives, behaviors, and responses can shift.

What are states and traits?

Let’s start by differentiating between states and traits. A trait is a stable, pervasive characteristic that influences our thoughts, feelings, and behavior across a lifetime. On the other hand, a state is a temporary emotional place that may or may not ever come up again. See the difference?

Thus, a more stubborn personality trait can be difficult, but not impossible, to alter. Whereas a state can likely by shifted by a simple phone call to a friend, a hot bath, or a little passing of time.

These personality traits involve not only what has been passed onto us genetically, but also what we have learned throughout our lives, whether conscious lessons or not. As we age, these traits become more and more engrained and entrenched.

What motivates us to change?

Any number of reasons can cause us to seek to change a personality trait. Maybe our reactions have caused us undue stress, like responding to a simple frustration with an outburst. Or maybe a facet of personality is starting to cause trouble in an important relationship.

Whether the motivation is intrinsic or extrinsic, we may just know it’s time to change. While it may be difficult, we can absolutely begin to change personality traits.

How can meditation help?

Interestingly, several studies found that the energy needed to create personality change can be found through meditation. Meditation leads us to self-awareness and openness. And since all change begins with awareness, meditation can bring us to this critical first step. Meditation also primes our minds to be open to the possibility that personality change is accessible and doable.

In the 1970’s, psychiatrist KazimierzDabrowski made several observations regarding how meditation can influence personality:

  • Meditation can balance our real and ideal selves.
  • Meditation enables us to separate from what we have always done, breaking our attachment to engrained patterns of response.
  • Time alone meditating promotes calmness and relaxation, transforming tension and internal conflicts.
  • Meditation can open us up to seeing the possibilities for ourselves, evaluating ourselves objectively for areas needing growth and development.
  • Meditation can empower us to transcend our inherent personality types, preferences like introversion and extroversion and others.

 

While change can feel elusive at times, it isn’t out of reach. Taking consistent time to meditate can help you make the changes you’ve been seeking.

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