I'm starting to think that it really is impossible to change yourself deliberately. But of course in my natural insanity I have tried hard to find some way to work around this problem.
Of course I will have to use anime to illustrate the point, because this is supposed to be an Anime Thermos.
Pictured above is Sae Nakata a character in a lesser known anime called Amagami SS which I enjoy. Sae struggled in her arc with her shyness and couldn't do simple things like buy bread and talk to people. Kind of pathetic but also a real cutie. Her arc touched me because it addressed the prospect of changing one self to act like the person you've always wanted to be. I love Sae because I relate to her struggle. Always wishing to be a different kind of person so I could finally grab the things I want most.
But unfortunately when pondering the nature of Psychology I've reached the rather disturbing conclusion that you really can't choose to change yourself. The human brain simply doesn't have a mechanism to rewire itself according to our hopes and dreams. That's why we get trapped in habits and routines; because a combination of genes, chemicals, and experiences brought each of our brains to a certain wiring structure that prompts and inhibits certain behaviors at certain times.
That's what happened to Sae after all. The whole plot of her story is that the male lead; Junichi got to know her after helping her get the food she wanted and ultimately became involved with her pursuit of a job as a waitress. It was Junichi with some help from his sister Miya who helped provide the guidance and experiences that Sae needed to break out of her "Shy Shell" as I so creatively like to call it.
There are many more examples of this situation:
Like Naruto who wanted to become Hokage because he was an orphan hated for his CLOSE association with the Nine Tails, or Lelouch vi Brittania who despised his father and country for the despicable things they did, or all the main characters of Bleach after the Vandenreich tore the Soul Society apart and freaking killed Yamamoto! And Kenpachi specifically who grew more mature and level headed after his bout with Unohana and the formal passing of the title KENPACHI. Hell, Bleach alone has a slew of examples that all have something very important in common.
Something or another happens in the lives of anime characters that forces the change! It's actually a lot like real life in this regard. We've all heard real life stories about growth and learning through trauma and difficulty and I think there is something to be learned from that. We don't really bother changing much in life unless we HAVE TO. Because that's the nature of the brain: "If it ain't broke don't fix it.". That's not just an opinion, that is the basis of brain function. It's actually a scientific fact that the brain, being a biological entity whose purpose is to keep you alive, likes to do things efficiently. That means that nothing gets done unless there is some compelling force insisting upon it. And if you think about it, it makes sense when you consider how important the story and the conflict is to any anime/manga or other entertainment medium. The success of the characters is in no small part dependent on whether or not we care about what they're going through, and in fact the experiences and challenges they face often define who that character is and who they will become as they develop.
I took Krav Maga for 5 years because I felt weak and scared growing up in a world where killers sniped random civillians, destroyed the World Trade Centers and killed thousands of American citizens, I kicked ass and got an A in my Experimental Psychology class full of complex equations and analyses because I failed the first exam and it terrified me that this class with a high failure rate might claim my life next...
Even Anime Thermos only exists because...
HOW THE HELL DO I NOT WRITE ABOUT THIS!?
Hold on...Candice Catnipp is distracting me...seriously with the tongue and everything...I hope she somehow turns coat and becomes a hero because I'm loving her right now. THE THUNDER! Did I mention her name is CANDICE CATNIPP? Freaking incredible.
But I hope this is helping you see why change is so hard. Because we need to see that what we choose to do actually matters. If I write a blog I need to see the view counter go up and I need to see you readers up voting my stuff. And when I saw that I actually have a second follower recently that got me really excited! I don't just do this for nothing you know, even if I'm not getting paid I'm still looking for meaning, purpose, and results!
The point is we all need things to latch onto and strive for. You can't just decide to change at random because it's unlikely that you'll really want it enough or feel confident enough to actually follow through. We need things that stimulate us, I once had a Psychology teacher in Sensation and Perception who taught us that any and all stimuli actually causes the organism perceiving it to CHANGE. This means that every new experience really does change you. You may not have full control but when you try new things you become a new version of you so the key is not just to keep trying but to keep trying differently each time. If you can diversify your experience of life enough, eventually you're bound to become a much happier person because of everything that you learn along the way.
GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!