If there is some aspect we don’t like about our personalities or our way of dealing with the world, can we change it? And if so, how? I’ve always heard that we can’t change our personalities that it is set in us and will stay with us for the rest of our lives, but is that true?

Woman dancing at sunset by the ocean

Personality Development

Most psychologists agree that personality is shaped by early life experiences. Because of that our personalities will stay pretty much the same throughout our lives.

A lot of our personality is reinforced by what happened to us in our early childhood and how we were treated by our caregivers, according to Psychology Today.

There is this idea, though, that personality changes can occur with new social roles, new jobs, new relationships or new life experiences. So to the extent that we pursue and embrace changes in our lives, we will transform.

Losing Weight Changed More Than My Body

When I weighed 430 pounds I used to take a lot of personality tests. Every time I would take the test I would come out as an introvert and very methodical thinker. After losing weight I retook the test I came out an extrovert and more of a feeler.

In looking at the results, I really think I am more on the line between an extrovert and introvert, but it vividly showed me that going through the transformation process of losing more than 250 pounds changed more than just my body.

It changed how I relate to the world around me. For instance, I’m no longer a wall flower. I can go into a social situation and interact freely with those there. This didn’t happen when I was much larger. I was friendly, but I wasn’t the one who initiated conversations. I let people come to me.

Weight Can Limit Interaction With Others

I love to be around people who want meaningful conversation and who want to better their lives. I love helping people achieve their goals. Before I lost weight I was primarily focused on what I was doing wrong, which held me back from interacting in a more meaningful way.

My weight was a huge limitation to me. It put a wall between me and the people around me. Even though I may have had a desire to help others, I didn’t feel qualified to do so because I couldn’t even help myself.

Teaching an adult Sunday School class was a different matter. I could talk to people who came to my class wanting to learn. That was easy, but it wasn’t easy for me to try to recruit people to come to my class.

Comfortable In Any Situation

I really am still a basic introvert because I get more energy from the time I spend studying, reading and writing than I do at a loud and busy party. However, put me in a room with those who want deep and meaningful conversation and that feeds my soul as well.

The big change is that now I find myself comfortable in either situation. When it comes right down to it, I know it’s people who really matter, so I will choose people over solitude every time.

They are who matter to God. On this journey, I have changed how I feel about others. God gifted me with compassion and mercy, something I didn’t have before. He knew I’d need it to share my journey with others who need to know that He can help them change, too.

Transformation Happens To Every Part of Us

This matters because transformation happens in every part of us—body, soul and spirit. We can’t just go on a crash diet and lose weight, unless we begin to work on our mind, will, emotions and spirits.

We must be transformed and progressively changed as we mature spiritually by the renewing of our minds. (See Romans 12:2 AMP.)

We must focus our thoughts and attention on God in order to be changed first on the inside. Then it will manifest on the outside of us in our physical bodies. (See Romans 12:2 MSG.)

Engaging In the Process

Trying to change our bodies first, without changing how we think and feel won’t result in lasting change. It will only be a futile effort eventually ending in us gaining the weight back.

Part of this has to do with the amount of time and energy we put into our transformation process. Are we just looking for a physical bodily change or do we really want to change what is at the core of the issue that continues to cause us to gain weight?

To attack that issue, we must be willing to allow God to restore, rebuild, remake and renew us. It’s a process that takes our personal intentional time and effort.

Commitment

It’s not a here today and gone tomorrow commitment. It must be a commitment that lasts. Be sure the evil one will bring resistance against any change you try to make.

He is not rooting for you. He is acting against you. Remember he is only there to steal, kill and destroy you and any influence you might have for God.

He won’t win though because Jesus is right there with you helping you to have and enjoy life in abundance until it overflows. (See John 10:10 AMP.)

There is joy in the journey, in the process, in intentional effort and in commitment. It all results in our very own transformations.

Focus on God. He’ll be the one running the victory lap with you!

 

 

Teresa Shields Parker
Teresa Shields Parker is a Christian weight loss author, coach and speaker, who has lost more than 250 pounds. Her book, "Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God's Favor", is the number 1 Christian Weight Loss Memoir on Amazon. She has four more books, "Sweet Journey to Transformation: Practical Steps to Lose Weight and Live Healthy", "Sweet Freedom: Losing Weight and Keeping It Off With God's Help", "Sweet Change: True Stories of Transformation" and "Sweet Hunger: Developing An Appetite for God." Sweet Grace and Sweet Freedom study guides are available as well. All books are on Amazon and under the book tab on her website. Her Coaching Programs can be found under the Weight Loss tab. To book Teresa for your next event, check the Speaking tab. Also check out her blog at TeresaShieldsParker.com.