Changing You: The Most Rewarding Unpaid Job You Will Ever Have – Part One

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“We are taught you must blame your father, your sisters, your brothers, the school, the teachers - but never blame yourself. It's never your fault. But it's always your fault, because if you wanted to change you're the one who has got to change.” ― Katharine Hepburn, Me: Stories of My Life

What are the Fundamental Character Changes that People Need to Make?

Americans spent $11 billion in 2008 on self-improvement books, CD's, seminars, coaching and stress-management programs–13.6% more than they did back in 2005, according to Marketdata Enterprises. People also spend thousands of dollars for therapy to get to the root of their problems, so we know there is a desire in people to change.

People familiar with 12 Step based recovery hear character defects talked about in opening readings as the underlying cause of their dissatisfaction with life and what within them needs to change.

Many religions and beliefs put an emphasis on the emotional suffering of attachment, negative behaviors and man’s responsibility to change for the better.

However, if the hidden or less obvious motives for the self-defeating behaviors, actions, and thoughts remain unaddressed, there may be only surface change.

There is an Act or What You Did

For example, we all know that stealing is wrong. Although there are laws against stealing, religions have rules governing it, and most people acknowledge that it is bad, this action take place daily.

So why do people steal? What are the motivators for theft? What prompts a person who does not need the stolen item to embezzle, take or use what does not belong to them?

Then There is the Why You Did

There are many underlying reasons that people steal.

• One may steal because they are jealous of what someone else has, or because they are greedy.
• Another steals because they feel entitled to have what they want, when they want it and think that they are deserving of having someone's possessions.
• Someone else may take something that does not belong to them to inconvenience someone else – revenge is a motivation for that type of action.

Therefore, you can see that the why or motive for theft is different for each person. Attitudes, Character Defects, Negative Aspects and Self-defeating Behaviors are the underlying why of behaviors.

Even if the individual stops stealing, the underlying motives are still present. These character defects or self-defeating behaviors, thoughts and actions, consciously or unconsciously drive the person and they are what needs to change.

What Fuels Attitudes, Character Defects, Negative Aspects and Self-defeating Behaviors?

Oftentimes, you will find that fear fuels or eggs on your Attitudes, Character Defects, Negative Aspects and Self-defeating Behaviors.

For instance, you operate from arrogance, believing that you know all there is to know about many things. While this may be true, you do not have either the experience or knowledge about everything, so being dismissive when given directions, or being disinterested in suggestions to improve will probably net you a less than favorable outcome at work, in your social world, or in changing your character defects and self-defeating behaviors.

Becoming open-minded, willing, and receptive to alternative solutions might gain you better outcomes.

He Had 34 Years of Recovery, I Should Have Listened

Twenty-five years ago, my mentor, a 75-year-old Native American by the name of Grey Hawk, told me, “Whatever you know has value; whatever you don’t know might have more value and worth, please follow the directions.”

He had asked me to read a paragraph in a recovery book. I of course, read the entire chapter, took notes and used a dictionary for new words and concepts. I was prepared.

When he asked me what I had learned in the first paragraph, I wanted to impress him with my comprehension so started discussing the merits of the whole chapter.

He let me “enlighten” him for about 15 minutes before he interrupted me and then informed me of the approximately 10 very important concepts, words and/or phrases that I had missed in the first paragraph.

Fear and the Illusion of Self

What fueled this need for me to demonstrate to Grey Hawk how smart I was reading the entire chapter and taking notes, was the fear that my drug and alcohol use had so drastically impaired me that I would not be able to comprehend even simple recovery writings.

I was also afraid that if I was not the “best student” he had, that he would find someone to take my place. Although he was incredibly popular and a sought after speaker at meetings, he did not coach many people and I felt privileged to work with him.

I also felt guilty that I was in the situation that I was in and believed that I had to quickly recover; that I had squandered enough personal resources on my addiction, harmed my family and children, and that the sooner I got all of the materials read, digested, and was putting them into action, the sooner I would recover.

When he asked me about my character defects and self-defeating behaviors in the experience and I told him, he laughed and said, “At my age, it might be okay to rush; after all, how much more time do I have on the planet. You on the other hand need to take the time to inspect the aspects of yourself that cause you problems, thoroughly and fearlessly without rushing through it. You need to take the time to read, understand, comprehend, examine and find the underlying behaviors, and then change them."

It was at that point that I knew that change was a lifelong job; that it would create fears, uncover aspects of myself that generated and caused embarrassment; that I would only benefit from my recovery if I went beyond not using to healing the underlying motives that produced negative outcomes in my life.

A Change is Gonna Come

Part two of How Changing You is the Most Rewarding Job You will Ever Have focuses on how to effectively evaluate aspects that need changing and models for change.

Credits:
Notebook and Dictionary: Morgue Files
Fear Based Underlying Causes to Change: Marilyn Davis for TIERS

For additional articles on Addiction and Recovery by Marilyn Davis:
Wikinut: Join, write and become connected to others who share a passion for writing, supporting one another, and learning.

Tags

Changing Attitudes, Changing Defects Of Character, Changing Self-Defeating Behaviors, Changing You, Fear Fuels Self-Defeating Behaviors, Rewarding Unpaid Job, What Needs Changing

Meet the author

author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
A Certified Addiction Recovery Empowerment Specialist, with 25 years of abstinence-based recovery. I write about addictions, recovery, life lessons and general writing tips.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
1st Nov 2013 (#)

Good afternoon, Steve. Thank you for moderating this page and the Star. I appreciate it. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Connie McKinney
1st Nov 2013 (#)

Change is never easy but can be done. It takes time and sometimes even a lifetime, as you so eloquently pointed out, Marilyn.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
1st Nov 2013 (#)

Good evening, Connie. You are correct. As a continuing work in progress, I completely agree with you. Thanks for the comment. ~Marilyn

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author avatar M G Singh
1st Nov 2013 (#)

Change is part of life. Nice post

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
2nd Nov 2013 (#)

Good evening, Madan. I appreciate your comment, and yes, you are right. Change is the nature of life and our attitudes determine how we will deal with the changes. ~Marilyn

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
1st Nov 2013 (#)

Change is constant in our lives...thank you for this most helpful page...

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
2nd Nov 2013 (#)

Good evening, Carolina - hope you are well. I value your comments. Thanks. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
2nd Nov 2013 (#)

Grey Hawk is wise. I know I need to learn to pace myself somewhere between mad dash and standing still wondering where to go next. He must have been a very good teacher/mentor.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
2nd Nov 2013 (#)

Good evening, Phyl. Yes, he was. I was very fortunate that early in my recovery I had this wise teacher. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Retired
2nd Nov 2013 (#)

Very informative Marilyn ... it seems we are all constantly changing ...

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
2nd Nov 2013 (#)

Good morning, Starrleena. Thank you for the comment and for reinforcing that change is constant throughout our lives. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
3rd Nov 2013 (#)

Thank you Marilyn for an incisive, analytically written post. I feel we change every five years or so depending on the experiences we go through in life. We should ever be on the look out for changing for the better so that our lives are worth more for others. Nothing gives more satisfaction than in giving more than taking even while on our deathbeds - siva

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
3rd Nov 2013 (#)

Good evening, Siva. What a kind thing to write. I must confess though to a self-serving motive in this. Grey Hawk told me that in order to learn anything new, I must be willing to give away what I know to expand my mind, thus my writing. I realize that may look eqotistical; however, after writing, I find myself looking for information on other things, and your articles are ones I always look forward to reading as I find value in the, Siva. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
5th Nov 2013 (#)

Nice post and informative as well. Thank you for sharing with teh forum all of you expertise!

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
5th Nov 2013 (#)

Good morning, Fern. Thank you. As I have said before, sharing or giving away allows me to free my mind to receive other information so it works for all of us. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Rose*
24th Dec 2013 (#)

I suppose a big part is just being self-aware. If you are conscious of what you are doing, you can catch destructive impulses before you act on them.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
24th Dec 2013 (#)

Good morning, Rose; that is an excellent point. Thank you for adding this. Although I cover that in Part 2, I would assume from your comment that you might not need to read that one :) To clarify: no disrespect intended, I can appear sarcastic sometimes when not meant. ~Marilyn

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