You’ll need to learn new things. Because you’re human, this process will be uncomfortable, and this discomfort is called growth. You can go it on your own, but it’s easier with help from a friend, a parent, a mentor.
Are you open to change?
Following are three powerful techniques for opening your heart, mind and life to change.
Affirm your values
When we feel threatened, our defenses immediately go up. To protect our self-esteem, we may deny our faults and find many in others. If your work team wins a pitch, for example, you might assume it was because of your own hard work and strategy. If you lose, though, it’s natural to blame the failing on your teammates’ laziness or your client’s lack of vision.
By affirming your core values, you ameliorate the effects of temporary blows to the ego. This type of self-affirmation consists of recognizing and reminding yourself of the qualities that make you who you are and that are most important to you: your family, your capacity for kindness, your creativity, your faith.
Be compassionate with yourself
In a study by Duke and Wake Forest universities, participants were asked to create a video introducing and describing themselves. They were told that someone would watch their tapes and assess how warm, friendly, intelligent, likable and mature they seemed. Half of the group received positive appraisals, and the others received neutral feedback, although all of the comments were completely fabricated and randomly assigned.
Self-compassion is gentleness within yourself,” Carter says. “We think that if we speak critically to ourselves, we will improve, but all the research shows with absolute certainty that self-criticism does not improve performance. It blocks your ability to learn from the situation and creates a stress response in which fight or flight are your only options. Personal growth is not on the menu when you are self-critical.”
Try new stuff
Once you’ve practiced self-affirmation and self-compassion, you can put your openness to use.
You should talk to strangers. Studies show that the more social interactions we have with “weak-tie” relations fellow commuters, baristas, store clerks, neighbors, familiar people in your office—the happier and more satisfied we feel with our day.