Don’t change who you are, change how you think

If you want to be happier then you need to change who you are - this is the messaging we often get from the world around us. But the reality is that most of the things that make us unhappy stem not from who we are but from how we think. Which is why if you want to be happier then you need to change how you think.


People pleasing, self-doubt, imposter syndrome, self-criticism...

We can spend years trying to stop doing this stuff. Even when you start to realise that you’re behaving in a way that makes you a people pleaser or is obviously making self-doubt worse, it can be really difficult to see what the alternative is because your habits and perspective on yourself and the world are so tied into that way of thinking.

You may even have a low-key sense that something isn’t right but still find it too hard to do things differently because being a people pleaser etc. is what you know. 

What this looks like in practice

Maybe you’ve noticed you are super hard on yourself every time something doesn’t work out, or feel so anxious about saying 'No' (even if you want to) that you can’t do it. Or you just go to pieces at work around people who intimidate you or seem more confident

Change seems hard because we see these things as personality problems (“it’s just who I am”). But they are thinking problems - they are coming, not from who you are, but from the way that you think. 

What are your current problems?

If you were to stop and write these down, on some level your current problems are keeping you stuck because of the way you’re thinking about them. Maybe there is a very tangible real-world problem, such as being unable to find a new job.

You’re going to get a very different result to trying to solve this problem if you approach it with a negative and hopeless mindset than if you have an optimistic and action-driven mindset and can accept failure as just one step in a longer process. Do you see what I mean?

I’m not saying that we don’t have very big, very real problems in life...

But the reality is that for most of us the way we are approaching those problems is making them 10 times worse. We fail at something - and then instead of being kind to ourselves about how that feels and then working out how to do things differently, we are hypercritical and feel ashamed.

So, failure becomes a big block - which, in turn, makes us less willing to try again in the future because we don’t want to feel bad again. And we take so much longer to get over this particular failure than if we’d been kind and proactive instead (the definition of self-compassion).

The unconscious element

Many of us struggle with repeating problems and situations in life and this is actually a really useful signpost towards the thinking that is dumping you back in a hard place again and again.

Repetition is draining. Bad relationships, toxic friendships, losing money, ending up with less, being taken for granted, overlooked, rejected or left out...if things like this frequently show up in your life it can make you feel exhausted, sad, hopeless and desperate. 

I don’t believe that repeating problems are random - and I don’t believe in continuous bad luck...

I do believe in the power of your unconscious mind to keep sending you down the same path again and again without you even being aware of it. And I know that this is something that you don’t have to put up with going forward - because changing it is what I help my clients to do.

You have this one mad and beautiful life and you deserve to experience all of it in full colour, not behind a screen of anxiety or underneath a layer of negativity. 

Creating a permanent shift in thinking is why my clients come to me

I’ve helped hundreds of people step out of the limits they thought would be there for life. I’m an intuitive coach but I’m also knowledge-driven - practical and action-focused - and I’ve developed a toolkit that really works for my clients. One that will help you successfully change problematic thinking and enjoy all the positive outcomes that stem from having a positive, compassionate, confident mindset instead.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Winchester, Hampshire, SO23
Written by Alex Pett
Winchester, Hampshire, SO23

Alex is an ICF trained and NLP cert coach focused on helping people to deepen their resources to adapt and bounce back - and go on to thrive. She works with resilience to help clients build confidence, motivation, recover from burnout, set boundaries, find joy and move beyond limiting beliefs. Clients achieve tangible change in 6-9 sessions.

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