Transforming Ourselves: An Underlying Cure

What happens when you harvest wheat and pound it into grain?

What happens when you blend flour, eggs, milk, and sugar?

What happens when you bake this combination?

What happens when a child grows into an adult?

Or when fear mutates into confidence?


An object or person or belief is reworked so thoroughly that its original form is no longer present.

Each of these examples of permanent alterations have been transformed.


The flour cannot go back to being wheat.

The cake cannot return to its separate ingredients.

An adult cannot become a child again.

Once true confidence takes hold, the original fear evaporates, forever.


Transformation is a conversion process whereby an element changes so much that it cannot return to its original structure. Once combined, you cannot separate out the milk from the batter; its form, identity, and function is irreversibly changed.


We can do the same thing with our attitudes and reactions. With conscious effort, discipline, and diligence, we can transform our beliefs, priorities, and sense of identity—the results of which can include enduring change in our sense of competence and ability to think about and handle our daily circumstances.* Instead of getting annoyed or angry each time your Boss/Spouse/Child does X—and you know they will do it again and again—you find a new way to think about them, the situation, and their actions, thus transforming your attitude.


Transformation differs significantly from temporary, willful change. Willful change is just that—an act of will, which can dissolve as soon as we’re sick or tired. For instance, I decide it serves no purpose to get annoyed–that my dad pays so little attention to his surroundings that he regularly wears his shirt inside out or that a supervisor prefers the chaos of the last minute rush so I know he’s going to change the plan at the 11th hour–so I determine that the next time it happens I refuse to get upset. An act of will. But this resolution can dissolve in an instant should I get overly stressed, with the result being I react the way I always have—no change whatsoever.


The goal of transformation is that as I practice thinking about these people and scenarios from a more calm/bemused/empathetic perspective, I eventually reach a point where I think differently about them and their behaviors such that I am no longer bothered when these things happen, no matter how often it may arise. I have transformed my anger into tolerance: a permanent change that significantly enhances my ability to cope with these situations. Not only does this help keep me sane, but the likelihood is, my revised reaction and approach will actively change the energy attached to these interactions—a win/win if I can swing it!


As we all know, the contrast between an underlying cure and the temporary relief of symptoms is considerable.


Apply this same thinking to understanding how an “act of will” to handle X in a certain manner differs from the transformation of how you think about (and subsequently react to) X. Very different, indeed. Instead of believing myself to be a victim and reacting to people and situations as a supplicant, I transform my personal identity to that of a person of competence and capability. And it is utilizing this transformed identity that I now engage with the world. Clearly, a far superior, more successful, and more satisfying way to proceed through life.


Converting a mistaken belief such as “I’m incompetent” into “I believe in myself” happens only if we repeatedly practice corrective behaviors. What we whisper to ourselves matters! This is the process of transformation. How might you transform your disappointment into contentment? Confusion into understanding? Sadness into cheerfulness? Come on, I know there’s something you need to work on, something that were you to transform it, your worldview would improve.


For instance, let’s say you have been nursing a grievance or disappointment for years. This sadness has cast a shadow on your life outlook. Rather than believing that your original interpretation of events has been handed down on stone tablets and is the one and only way to accept what happened, what if you tried to list out the things you’ve accomplished since that time? What progress have you made (on any front)? Could you revise your perspective to embrace the good that came after the heartache rather than simply nurse your wounds? If you choose to see the positive, doesn’t it make sense that perhaps by holding onto this perspective instead, you might feel better and more hopeful? Don’t you think this might improve your experience of daily living? Nursing old grievances is a popular pastime and allows us to wallow in familiar feelings, I know, but have you ever seen even a single example of someone who was better off for doing so?


These are simply seed thoughts. The transformational process is one that can be long and challenging, but the result will change you and change your life. Forever.


*Taken from the writings and lectures of Dr. R. Leichtman, New Life Clinic, Baltimore, MD.


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2 Responses to “Transforming Ourselves: An Underlying Cure”

  1. grasshopper Says:


  2. helenga Says:

    I love this! What great advice to let go of points of view that no longer serve us well. How liberating (and difficult to do)!

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