Dave Hingsburger, a noted speaker on disabilities, talks in his blog about barriers which people with physical disabilities erect in their mind after repeated disappointments. [The blog is HERE, go ahead and read it. My blog will wait a moment.]
However, it is not only those with disabilities that do this. We all do it.
----The inner voice that says "Why diet, I'll never stick with it, I have no willpower."
----The feeling of hopelessness before Yom Kippur: "Why repent for yelling at my kids… I'll never change…."
----Or a feeling that try as you will, you can never make peace with your mother-in-law, your Aunt Celia, you cousin …..
But on the other side, don't we also see a lot of people who claim that they CAN make a change… when the day comes that they decide to do so? (The alcoholic who claims that he could quit drinking when he wants to, and the like.)
So who is right?
Both… and neither.
The person who believes he can change is correct… our sages tell us that as long as a person lives, he can change. HOWEVER, just deciding to change is very rarely ever enough. To truly change, he will need to work out a livable, usable strategy. He will need to tackle whatever issues are holding him back.
And the person who feels that he can not change realizes, correctly, that he must make a major internal overhaul in order to change. But what he does not realize is once he will start, like an exercised muscle which gains strength, the going will become much more manageable.
Making a lasting change includes delving to the roots and reasons of our behavior, and correcting them, not just the behavior itself.