The reason behind making a change in your own behavior (self improvement), begins at an internal level that only you can choose to acknowledge.
That sounds so uppity and snobbish. I’m sorry about that…
I don’t mean to be uppity, but I think I just want people to realize that if they’re unhappy, only they can change that.
I’ll admit that I’m often unhappy, even if those that I interact with don’t see it. The difference is that if I’m not happy, I make changes to improve myself or my situation. Every job that I’ve had has taught me something: what I do and do not want to do. Every relationship that I’ve lost or gained has taught me something: what kinds of people I should avoid or seek out.
Through each interaction and my emotional response, I have learned new things, applied those things to future situations, and taken away more than I started with. It’s not easy, and sometimes it hurts deep down where you never thought you could hurt, but it’s how you improve. Or, it’s how I have improved.
Step One: Find Your Catalyst
A catalyst is best defined as “a person or thing that causes a change or event to happen.”
Catalysts are different for everyone, but I believe that they all start with the same thing:
your emotions, how you respond to an experience.
Maybe it’s someone that you talk to, something that you see on t.v., or something that you hear on the radio. Whatever the medium, the result is that you feel something. If you feel excitement or happiness, maybe you decide that you want to feel that way more often. If you feel disgust or embarrassment, maybe you decide that you don’t want to feel that way again.
What I’m saying is
your feelings are what determine your actions.
Step Two: Self-Reflection
Once you recognize your catalyst, it’s up to you to reflect on it. Say that you feel jealous over someone else’s life: why? Or that you feel happiness when you meet new people: why? Look at your reaction and try to determine the root cause. Once you know the root, you can decide whether or not to change it.
Step Three: Make a Change
Acknowledging that you as an individual have areas that can be (or should be) improved is hard, but taking the time to reflect on your own actions and feelings is the best way to grow and improve yourself.
If you’re not sure what you need to do to change, my best advice is to avoid doing things or interacting people that consistently give you negative emotions (I emphasized consistently because sometimes things are negative for a time, but that doesn’t mean they’re inherently negative), and invest time in doing things or interacting with people that consistently give you positive emotions (same rule applies, look for consistency).