|via my bed|
Why do we do that? Why do we cause ourselves pain?
This idea reminds me of recent conversations I've had with friends. One keeps talking with this guy who she knows isn't good for her, another friend mentioned how he spent his one day off hungover because he had to have just one more drink with his pal -- you know, the one you really don't need. Another friend of mine keeps doing this or that for an organization that she really doesn't have time to be a part of.
And -- of course -- I'm guilty, too. And far beyond being a glutton for Starbursts. Or wine. Or coffee. But I think you all knew that already. ;)
While I have no expert wisdom to offer here, I think part of it has to do with instant gratification, or instant happiness. We drink one more glass of wine because it feels good now, even though we know we have to be to work early the next day.
I also think about conversations I've had with one of those same friends above, who repeatedly reminded me during a really terrible break-up a few years back (when I couldn't shake my depressed routine) that we are creatures of habit. We engage in behavior that isn't good for us because it's what we've always done. It's comfortable.
One of my professor's says all of the time: "If nothing changes, nothing changes. But if anything changes, everything changes."
It's an overwhelming idea. And we tend as humans to not handle it very well, which is interesting being that the only thing constant in life is well -- change.
You're tired of feeling hungover at work? Skip the wine. You're tired of that douche making you feel inadequate? Stop talking to him. You're tired of never having any money? Stick to a budget.
Of course, we all know, it's not that easy. And some things are out of our control (though our attitude always is in our control)...but I digress.
Liz Gilbert shares this insight: “I was full of a hot, powerful sadness and would have loved to burst into the comfort of tears, but tried hard not to, remembering something my Guru once said -- that you should never give yourself a chance to fall apart because, when you do, it becomes a tendency and it happens over and over again. You must practice staying strong, instead.”
I love Gilbert's take on this, or her guru's rather. We must practice the new habits we want to have. Seems more doable than the declaration "I'm never going to do this again!" Let's be honest, that just leaves us all feeling disappointed when we do it again. (Hello New Year's resolutions!) Beating ourselves up over our "failures" doesn't do us any good. What did some super positive person say...the only way to fail is to not try? We have to be our own biggest cheerleaders. We have to think we can do whatever it is we want to achieve.
So practice. Again and again. It's the only way to get better at anything. And in time...those habits of choosing water over soda, not buying that pair of shoes, or not allowing another person to ruin your day...they all of a sudden become you.
And the change you were so scared of has just...happened.