Monocycle, Episode 57
Do We Ever Really Change?
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INQUIRING MINDS WANT TO KNOW! Are we capable of change, or what? Is it terrible if we don’t — can’t — change? What if the expectations were to learn how to better manage the qualities we dislike in ourselves instead of to do away with them completely? Would we feel more whole as individuals, knowing that we’re not supposed to do 180s, and that on the contrary, we just have to be who we are? In this week’s episode of Monocycle, I take you on a psychological trip (which is different from a vacation) that poses these questions, sets out to answer some of them and utilizes the trenches of my memory to navigate all of the above. At one point, we’re in 11th grade, and at another, we’re back in the present. There is some dilly dallying, some questioning of whether there is such thing as an original thought, but the majority of the content revolves around the titular question and doesn’t really answer it but does offer a respite from Fashion Week, so…enjoy at your own risk!

Photo by Bettmann via Getty Images.

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  • Noémie Lévesque

    « People don’t change, they just reveal who they really are ». You speak the truth to me Leandra, I’m convinced people don’t change, and mostly that you can’t change somebody since my parents divorced, both realising they were not together for the good reasons and specifically because they needed to be « their true-self» at some point.

    My boyfriend and I are having conversations these days about identity, authencitiy, intentions, and sharing how we want to be together for the « good reasons », which I am not sure what they are. The idea of being really a multiplicity of incarnations of our different ideas, thoughts, changing continuously, always comes up in my mind, knowing that what I feel about him in the moment is important, because it can end any day. In a positive way, our relationship feels then as something pretty unique and even precious, something we share as long as we find this sort of identity in it.

    But in a way, arent’ we always « growing up» ?

    As per the relationship I share with myself, my own identity and thoughts, the same idea of multiplicity brings to me some joy. The freedom of knowing I identify in ideas that are always tranforsming and deepening (hopefully). Feeling that I change without even thinking about it is truly important to me to stop identify with the past and to live in the moment.

    Anyhow, what was I saying?

  • Hannah T.

    I agree, I don’t think change. I also don’t think people “reveal their true selves”. People are a mystery, even to themselves and people are mirrors. People reflect what they experience and how they experience and what they’ve experienced. People aren’t one dimensional and they don’t stay the same but they can’t change because they were “nothing” to begin with, a mystery. We walk around like we know who we are but our identity is built on the image we’ve created. And that image is fluid. When people do/say something that “reveals their true self” that’s not a truth telling. It’s an expansion of understanding. People can be kind and empathetic and strong and that same person can be hurtful and unfaithful and selfish and afraid. And I think when someone shows opposite expressions it’s a sign for a need to be understood and feeling out of place. People don’t change. People are everything some just don’t know they are everything and nothing as the same time.

  • Laura

    I’m like you…totally conflicted when it comes to being competitive – with concern to all matter, get used to living in the grey space, baby.

  • Ulricha Ferdinandsen Bodenhoff

    I hope that we expand, you know, but I’m not sure that it’s really possible to change fundamentally.
    I mean when we meet new people we are intrigued if they are compatible with us in obvious or hidden ways, or if they are representative of our aspirations or musings. And when we have new encounters we can feel revitalized or something, like changed, but I think we might just be expanding certain areas of our selves in bondage with an other human person. Like they curate a new arrangement of the pieces in our brains.

    The closest I have felt to change, is when I was mentally ill, but in recovery I am regaining my previous position on life’s everyday aspects or activities. At the same time I do hope that I have become wiser within myself and that this has changed me to be able to expand myself differently, if that makes the slightest sense 🙃

  • Katie Love Little

    Great episode! It prompted me to seek out the Oprah & Alanis interview that you referred to. So much to think about, but the one piece of advice that stood out for me = Chill out, kid! Your words of wisdom for your teenage self still apply in your 20s. Promise. And no, we don’t change (unless something truly miraculous or traumatic happens…)
    I wish that I had something more original to say. The only time I have been convinced that my thoughts are truly my own are after long periods of time spent alone in nature (cottage, hikes, camping, spiritual retreats) When I have been completely unplugged and disconnected from society, technology, etc. Down time –> freedom & creativity.

  • Brynne Alexandra

    Hello! Future psychologist here! I would not have a job if change was not possible. I think the principle of are there unique thoughts is interesting though. We are in fact social people, and I think that we absorb stimulus from everywhere since birth. But we are able to synthesize that in a way that is relevant to us and unique to us. We all experience similar emotions, BUT, not everyone has the same experience of those emotions. Does that make sense? Our reactions to quotes, other people’s experiences, our own emotions are all unique to us. What struck me this week was a quote from one of my professors…so this is really not my own original thought…but I think why we have a hard time thinking that change is possible, because it is scary.
    “Change is like stepping off a precipice into an abyss of someone we have never been before.”
    We have our certain reactions, emotions, thoughts to events, and we react that way because it helps protect us in some way. Even if we don’t always like that we do it. Having to change is hard. It’s not the quick ‘New Year’s Resolution’ change. It’s confronting the hard and fast patterns we have developed and really trying to be something different. That’s true change.
    I love your podcast! Keep them coming, they are so inspiring. 🙂