Have you ever considered the most convenient murder methods?
Hopefully your answer is “no,” but my friends and I talk about it a lot. Partly because we are all fans of murder mysteries and partly because I have a morbid sense of humor. And while my personality has a lot to do with these conversations, part of it is also because these conversations — and the non-sequiturs they start with — have become a habit, one that has directly shaped what my friends think of when they think of me.
A lot of times, I say things to get a rise out of my friends. These will be comments about death or black magic or other extreme and taboo — at least, near-taboo — topics, which I use to see how they react. Strong reactions are often humorous to me and to other friends who also enjoy getting a rise out of people. But it wasn’t until recently that these morbid comments of mine actually became part of my personality. After all, they started merely as playful asides — just something for a moment before moving on. But now, my friends have come to actively expect these comments from me and introduce me to people as if it’s just part of who I am.
I’m not sure how I want to take that.
Or, more specifically, I’m not sure if I want that to be something that continues to be part of me. Sometimes it’s fine, but I’m not always in the mood to go on morbid tangents. I wrap around back to them because it’s expected of me. Which isn’t to say it’s my friends’ fault, but rather I’ve fallen victim to a very common part of self-discovery.
Recurring habits, especially those that get positive attention, are very likely to be absorbed into our active persona around those people — that is, the type of personality and actions we put on around different groups of people. Now, putting up a persona isn’t a bad thing — we put up personas all the time around different people and situations. For example, you don’t act the same with your friends as you do with your parents or your boss. Even if you’re friends with your parents or your boss, it’s still a different dynamic and a relationship with different needs.
The problem, then, is that readjusting any habits away from your persona is very difficult and will be met with resistance, albeit not consciously, from those around you. For all intents and purposes, you’ll be attempting to change something that’s become part of your being to that person or group of people. Understandably, they might be hesitant to support the choice.
Which doesn’t mean it’s impossible, just that you should be very sure about what habits to make or break before trying to change your trajectory. While I might still be morose about things, I’m not sure how much toning down I can do before it gets weird, but I guess we’ll find out. Or maybe I wanted to be less apologetic and, instead, more assertive and confident. That might take a bit more of an active push to achieve, but is no less an admirable goal. Just one that’s very lengthy to achieve.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, the parts of our personalities are not always some part of our intrinsic nature, and we are not unchangeable. It’s not like there’s some stone tablet in a mountaintop in Tibet that has your personality carved into it. Making changes to the things we don’t like about ourselves isn’t easy, but it’s also not impossible, and the knowledge of that alone can be enough to start change.