Well, that escalated quickly – Thoughts On Change, Self-reflection and My Back

(This is my first post in this category and it was not so easy writing it and I will explain why: This category is something like a scratchwork-book of an artist: it contains random thoughts on topics I partly know about and partly (or mostly) just came up with. It is not going to be a clear statement. Everything here is just what’s in my mind and what I thought about. I am not giving advices or hints, tips or any other kind of recommendations. And as I said, I’ll allow my thoughts full bent, probably resulting in topic switching, underdone thoughts and chaos.)

During the last days, I thought a lot about change targeting personality, interests, hobbies and everything else connected to a person.

What do I mean?

Of course, when we grow up, we mature and develop our personality. We are defined by our states or mood and the traits that have always been there, probably since the day we were born. The difference between both is the time factor as well as the driver. States are temporary and usually evoked by a situation (either internally or externally cued). Traits are the characteristic of a person, so the core of an individuals’ personality. And usually, those traits do not change.

I don’t want to hold a speech about personality psychology or introduce you to the weird, but very interesting historical excursions of this field (in the past, people thought that something like the shape of the skull can tell about the personality and cognitive abilities of a person, this “science” was called phrenology). I want to talk about my experiences.

Self-reflection, voluntary and involuntary changes

There are changes, we voluntarily do. We set a goal, make a plan how to reach it and usually stick to this strategy or do small adaptations if needed. Sometimes, it’s successful, sometimes we fail. And then it’s a question of motivation and desire whether we start anew or not.
But there are also changes we do not realize or at least do not recognize when we do not think about ourself, when we do not reflect what we do and ask why.

To become clear: 3 months ago, I very likely had a disc prolapse in my lower back, irritating my ischiatic nerve leading to severe pain in the leg and parethesia. Fortunately, 80% of all disc prolapses can be treated with physiotherapy and so I recovered.
I do suffer from back pain for more than 10 years and some years ago, I started worrying about it and I went to a specialist. I got a lot of physiotherapy and I always promised myself to train hard on my own when the therapy is over. Guess what…I never did it. This change in my daily life and habits has always been an obstacle that I never managed to overcome. And to be honest, I never really wanted to change that.

But after this thing that happened to me almost 3 months ago, I woke up. I realized that I have to change something. I know, it is getting worse with my back if I am still lazy and that I will suffer from disc prolapses over and over again if I do not train myself and prevent anything further. It’s not like I am a real couch potato, in contrast, thanks to my dog Voxel, I move a lot. I love hiking and biking and having a walk. And I usually do this a lot. But in order to avoid further prolapses or other bad things, I have to train my whole body, especially the abs. And as this is not painful enough, I need to strengthen the micro muscles. Those are the once who are active in small movements, such as balancing when we walk or sit somewhere. I guess, we actually don’t really feel when they are active, because in a “normal” body, the muscles work together in combination. In my case, the back muscles are not enough to balance my body, because my spine is slightly twisted and some structures grew differently. However, the muscles of my back already have a lot to do with compensating those malpositions that there are no power and resource left to work together with other muscles for balancing and stuff.

On tour with Voxel (by averagepony)

And so, my back hurts because everything is completely stressed out and exhausted. My physiotherapists always says: We have to be nice to our employees. And that’s totally true. When you run a company and all of your employees are burned out because of a too high workload, they start to feel horrible and become sick, they do mistakes because they are not concentrated and sometimes, they dismiss. A good boss has just one option: hire more employees! And as I don’t want my lower back to dismiss, I have to hire more power. And that’s why I need strong abs, especially strong micro abs.

Uff…I totally lost the topic. I wanted to write about change. Doing sports (bodyweight exercise) was a voluntary change in my life in the last weeks and after I got some routine, it’s a part of my daily habits and I can feel its positive impact.

Back to the topic

I became much more aware of my body and how my body changed. And while I thought about this, I started thinking about change in general. Change is not limited to physical change; it can also affect behavior. When we discover a mismatch between the way we react to a situation and our personal idea of how to react, we usually start to think about it. Self-reflection is a crucial part of this mechanism and it can both be positive and negative. Generally, self-reflection is important and necessary! Whenever I think about myself, I discover things I really like about me and those, I don’t. And all of such changes happened involuntarily. For example, I’ve never been a patient person and I’m still not. BUT, in case of Voxel and the education of the dog, I learned to be patient and much calmer compared to the first weeks after I got her. I actually knew before that I have to become more patient, but I did not know how to learn patience. I guess, it is a strategy I use rather than a general change of my personality. And I can prove this really easy: Whenever I work with Voxel, I can be patient for quite a long time, but when I want to have something or know something, I can not wait! But anyway, I somehow managed to involuntarily adapt my behavior and changed the way I react. And that’s what fascinates me, to discover those changes and ask why and maybe find an answer.
There is also behavior I never intended to develop, but it’s there and it’s not good and it’s there for a reason. For example, I have difficulties trusting people…
I guess, everyone already had the situation that people said something like: You changed a lot! But you probably did not realize it. Either it’s because it’s not true or because it has been a while since you lately thought about yourself! Some people do not care about those statements and I don’t want to judge whether this is good or not. However, I care about and I reflect myself quite often (maybe sometimes too intensive). And this might be from time to time not very positive. The longer I think about myself the more questions appear that I can not answer. And sometimes, I get stuck into a certain thought. People might think that I am depressive or blue or sad or whatever. But I am most of the time not! I am just somehow caught in my thoughts. Not about me and myself, but my thoughts in general. Sometimes, I realize that I changed into a way I never wanted to. And those situations are the hardest ones. I have the feeling that good changes come and go, while bad changes come and it’s not so easy to get rid of them!

All in all: People do change! We change our opinions, hobbies, interests, our habits, preferences and style. When I was a child and even when I became a teenager, I hated olives and red wine, especially dry wine. Now, I love dry red wine and, ok, it’s still not very clear with olives, but most of the time, I like them. 🙂 And change is sometimes good, sometimes bad, but there is always a reason, why we changed. The question is, whether we intended it or not and whether we want to keep this change or put it aside as it’s not what we want to be or represent. And therefore, it’s necessary to reflect our behavior and actions.

But! It’s not a universal remedy. Self-reflection is good when applied occasionally 😉 Most of the time, we don’t have to actively control what we do, because our brain has certain feedback and control loops already included. However, from time to time, we should question ourself and evaluate who we are, why and whether we want to be like that. And then, we can start to change…voluntarily.


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