Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither were your deeply engrained neuroticism and misanthropic tendencies. But there’s still hope for you! According to science, the key to reforming your ways is real easy: just get older.
According to the Wall Street Journal, several large studies over the past few years have shown people’s personalities naturally improve as they get older. Between the ages of 20 to 65, people tend to adopt more positive traits (responsibleness, emotional stability) while shedding the bad (neuroticism) as a response to big life events like a career advancement or a serious relationship. Psychologists refer to this phenomenon as the Maturity Principle.
But, also, if you don’t want to wait until you’ve used up most of your good years to become this holier version of yourself, there are things you can do to accelerate the process. It all comes down to recognizing what you want to change about yourself, then acting on that over time. Psychologist Richard Levak tells the Journal: “If I am a grouchy, argumentative, slightly suspicious type, and I am always getting fired because I get into arguments with co-workers and always blame others, then I have to realize that I have to change something.” With some self-discipline, and perhaps a good therapist, you can change your behavior over the long run. It might just take you a reaaaally long time.