Years ago I read a little psychology book by Don Riso and Russ Hudson about personality types, a topic I geek out on, to be honest.
The book talked about the character faults of different personalities, and as I read my own, I became a bit dismayed. I wondered how I could change negative characteristics that seemed to be interwoven in my DNA. How would I change who I seemed to be in my core?
There are spiritual answers to this question, of course, but I am talking about something more practical. I’m talking about how we stop feeling jealous or talking too much or giving in to self pity.
I was greatly helped by a short piece of advice at the end of the book.
The authors hardly focused on the advice, almost mentioning it in passing, but I may have gotten more from that single mention than anything else in the book.
If you grew up in a home or faith tradition that made you feel guilty all the time, did it work? Did you change? And what do we do with truths from scripture that tell us there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ? Does this only apply to our redemption, or to our path of sanctification also?
According to Riso and Hudson, people don’t change by beating themselves up or condemning themselves.The key, rather, is to simply acknowledge what we are doing and and why, then move on without self judgement. In addition, the psychologist said to not even attempt to change. And it turns out their method works.
In my own life, this comes in moments when I find myself angry or selfish and I simply say to myself, “Hey, you’re doing that thing where you get jealous.” In other times, I will feel like people don’t like me, I won’t want to go to a party or something and I’ll say to myself “Hey, you’re doing that thing where you identify as a marginalized person because it makes you feel special.”
The trick is to make these simple, objective statements without condemnation or judgment. Awareness is everything. And slowly, these character faults within us begin to change.
Have you tried Riso and Hudsons method? What characteristics in you would you like to change? Is it even possible not to judge yourself?