My friends and I have debated this subject over the years, so much so that I am pretty sure it is like beating a dead horse.
Most people would say, "No, people don't change."
That seems like the most logical answer.
But I disagree. I think you can change. However, that does not mean the desire to do it the old way has gone away.
Many years ago I went into therapy. I spent a couple of months sharing information about my past to a complete stranger. He would listen, take notes, and give feedback. After the hundreds of dollars and dozens of hours later, the only thing I really remember him saying was this:
"Nicole, there is no real cure for anxiety. Or any problem that the human mind has created. At the end of the day, it is all about being self aware."
What he meant was, sure, you are going to feel/think/desire/fear the thing/person/place/whatever always. That really doesn't go away. But what you can do is recognize when it happens, then make a choice.
Do we respond the way we would like to live, or do we repeat old behaviors.
I learned to respond differently. Granted, I used this technique to mainly deal with my Panic Disorder, however, it has paved the way in a wide variety of areas in my life.
For example, I will be the first to admit, I have a very quick temper. I get mad, and then I get fired up. I'm talking heart racing, quick breathing, adrenaline flowing - anger. My natural response is to react and go on the attack. Boy oh boy, it is within me to be verbally vicious. Instead of flying off the handle (the way I did in my teens and 20s,) I stop, I breathe, and I try to see where the other person is coming from. It is a choice. It is not a natural response.
I've gotten so good at it that you won't even recognize the pause. But this was a learned behavior.
Same goes for anything else. When I grocery shop, I choose organic and local if possible. It would be easier to grab whatever I want, especially finding something cheaper, but I don't. It was a decision, though not a natural reaction.
Now I am trying to learn new habits. Like healthier food choices (struggling,) and exercising several times a week (winning!)
What about you? Do you believe people can change? Why or why not?