We all want to believe we can change. I know I do. And the work I do as a Certified High Performance Coach involves helping my clients change, so I do believe we can change. In fact, I see people change.
But there’s another layer to this question. Are the changes you make superficial since your essential essence remains the same throughout your lifetime no matter what you do?
Tough question, right?
My family hotly debated it not long ago. The discussion has remained on my mind since.
What is Your Essential Essence?
We may each have a different definition of what might I am calling the essential individual essence of each human being. What do I mean by essential essence? I think of it as the soul.
Each of us defines that essential essence through the lens of our religious beliefs. Maybe you don’t believe we have a soul at all. But many spiritual traditions agree that the soul comes into the world perfect and pure but with a purpose.
The soul’s purpose could be to learn or do something, such as to gain computer coding skill and create a company like Apple. It could be to express something, like the message of nonviolence (Mahtama Gandhi), or to share a gift (Leonardo Da Vinci), to advance our knowledge (Stephen Hawking).
Additionally, most spiritual traditions see the essential essence of a human as unchanging. It’s the core of who the person is, and, therefore, remains the same from the time of birth until death. Many see it as eternal and connected to Source. If you believe in reincarnation, it endure from lifetime to lifetime.
So, does the essential essence change when you make changes? Or does it—and, therefore, you—remain the same no matter what? If so, what does that mean in terms of our attempt to change?
Do we change or do we not change?
The Change Process
As “you”—meaning the part of you that is more conscious of the physical experience than of the spiritual one—go through life, you forget not only that you are perfect, pure, and connected, but that you have a purpose to fulfill. You quickly forget you are connected to or part of Source as well.
You live your life. You have experiences that influence your thoughts and behaviors. You develop beliefs, many of which lead you to think you aren’t perfect or good enough. And you pick up good and bad habits. You change for the better or the worse, make mistakes, and succeed.
Then something happens that makes you consider changing in some way. You become conscious of the fact that you need to do something differently.
Possibly you want to be more giving or understanding. Maybe you want to stop taking drugs or drinking. Or you decide to be less angry or judgmental, more present, or healthier.
Sometimes you even start feeling like you’ve lost your “self.” So you begin the process of connecting with your essential essence.
So you begin the process of change.
You do the work that allows you to do things differently—to change your habits and mindsets. In the process, you begin to think, act, and speak differently. Maybe you start to look different as well.
You think more positively, drop 20 pounds, spend time volunteering, remain present in conversations, and react with compassion—or anything else that improves you or your “self.”
Studies show that if you do anything for 27 days or more, you develop a new habit. Continue that habit long enough, and it becomes part of your nature. It becomes part of you.
Does that mean you change? Yes.
At least the physical you changes.
What Remains the Same
What about your essential essence? Does developing new habits, mindsets, or ways of being in the world mean your essence changes?
That’s debatable. (As I said, my family debated it long and hard.)
After all, if you believe that your essential essence was pure and perfect already, it didn’t and doesn’t need to be improved.
So, maybe the process of changing your “self” is one of returning to your essence. Each time you perfect your physical self—mind and body—you take a step into your best or highest self. (That would mean that as you lived your physical life, you stepped out of your best or highest self.)
However, human beings are just that—human. That means you don’t walk around “bearing your soul.” You travel through life in a physical body that houses a soul. As such, you perfect the human “being” so it becomes a better vehicle for expressing the soul within.
At least that’s what I think. And that belief makes convinces me we can and do change. Indeed, maybe our most important task as humans involves changing in whatever way possible so we more fully express our inner essence.
What do you think? Tell me in a comment below.
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