Make-believe: the Halloween Edition

Is our personality fixed?


Halloween is a wonderful time to be reminded of the ease with which kids play a character...if only for a few hours.

In playing the character, a child inhabits the role wholeheartedly; they become the firefighter fighting the blaze or the wizard casting the spell or the astronaut orbiting earth.

Kids tap into a creative flow that allows them to access all of the qualities, traits and characteristics needed to become the role they have envisioned in their mind's eye.

To them, it is easy.

To them, it is effortless.

To them, there is no limit to who they are or who they can become.

It is all possible.

It is all available.

Nothing is fixed.

So what happens when we grow up?

Why do we feel like our personalities, qualities and abilities are fixed, permanent and unchanging?

Why does it seem so much harder to see ourselves as fluid with endless possibilities?

Why do we go through life longing to be free of our seemingly permanent traits that hold us to a rigid definition of who we are?

I think, in some ways, we have discounted, diminished and dismissed how, at one time, we had no limits within our mind.

We could be funny and serious.

We could be outgoing and shy.

We could be poised and clumsy.

None of it was permanent.

None of it was fixed.

We moved in and out of whatever occurred to us in the moment.

We didn't judge it or personalize it or identify with it.

We simply were' it' until something else came to mind.

A funny thing happened on the way to adulthood, though.

We began to believe in something else.

We began to believe in limits and permanence.

We began to believe the words of others as they told us who we were and the qualities we possessed.

We began to believe that such traits were fixed and unchanging.

And before we knew it, we became what others said we were; quiet or loud or awkward or smart or determined or aloof or selfish or driven or lazy or insecure and on and on and on.

We began to internalize, personalize and identify these traits as singularly, fixedly...ours.

Thus, what is commonly known as our personality was born.

And that...right perhaps the biggest bit of make-believe we've ever engaged in.

Our personalities were essentially germinated in the thought projections of someone else based on how they see the world and us in it.

Innocently, we latched onto some of these projections and incorporated them as truth...our truth.

And so now we find ourselves believing that

our personality is fixed

our qualities are permanent


our abilities are unchanging.

Not so.

Not so at all.

Nothing about us is fixed, permanent or unchanging.

We are changing all the time.

That is the fundamental nature of life; change.

It is only when we personalize thought and create habitual patterns that reinforce our belief in the permanent unchanging nature of our personality that we unwittingly tie ourselves to a long ago imagined projection initiated in the mind of someone else.

Seeing our role in this game is key.

Seeing the role of thought is also key.

In doing so, we are able to break free of the binds that shackled us to what we thought was truth.

Suddenly we begin to see that our personality is not fixed, our qualities are not permanent and our abilities are not unchanging.

Suddenly we begin to see new possibilities for ourselves.

Suddenly we begin to see where our limits can be challenged.

Suddenly we begin to make BELIEVE again with all the creativity, freedom and energy of our youth.

Lana Bastianutti