“We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.” J. Dryden
I am taking a class in Positive Psychology and my teacher, Tal, just allowed the wonderful quote above to escape!
I say escape because I felt that this quote freed me from something, but what?
As I write this, I do not know the answer to this question….and that’s okay. Actually it is more than ok. It is ok because NOW I KNOW that I will be actively searching my own life and behaviors to unearth what habits are “making me”.
I will use brushes that gently move the dirt and sand from an investigated habit, because using heavy machinery will only expose huge lumps of habits and not allow me to actually SEE what they are.
In plain language, I will not herald pompous proclamations that I will drastically change. I will whisper the change to myself and allow my mind, heart and intuition to guide me to the next place of excavation.
Let me give you a real life example.
In the past few weeks, I experienced a huge disappointment with someone close to me. I was not in a place where I could easily amend the situation. I was in a foreign country and did not have access to all that I needed to address what was happening. The only things I had were my heart, my mind, my intuition and my habits.
I now realize that I chose to investigate how I had habitually dealt with huge disappointments.
In the past, I would scream and yell, allow nasty words to escape from my mouth and make huge proclamations of what I would do in the future if this EVER happened again. I would let off steam that would quickly dissipate, but it left behind bad will and very hurt feelings. This time, I knew at some level that I did not want to act like this screaming heebeegeebee.
But what should I do? How should I act?
I tried for 24 hours to push it away…in other words, use heavy machinery and dredge the hurt out of me.
It did not work.
The next 24 hours, I saw the habit rear its ugly head and it wanted to charge full bore into the perpetrator…it wanted to destroy!
I witnessed all this happening in my body and I was shocked at the internal war that was going on. The habit did not want to give up…it was as though it had a mind of its own.
I cried a lot about it and in between the bouts of tears I kept asking, what is my lesson here?
What is my lesson here?
I did not receive any God-like voice telling me the lesson. I so very much wanted a definitive lesson that would allow my pain to dissipate.
My pain did not disappear.
I had to rise above my pain, rise above my tears, and find a solution while in the jaws of the disappointment.
It took me about 6 hours to arrive at a solution that I could live with, that would sustain my humanity and also allow the perpetrator to sustain theirs.
Some of the questions I had to answer while in pain were:
What are you here for?
Who are you here for?
Is this situation a deal breaker for your being here?
Do you respect all the players in this scenario?
Do you believe that people can make mistakes?
Will harping of someone’s faults help you to find a solution here?
As I allowed the answers to these and other questions to float into my consciousness, I felt the tears drying up and I began to focus on how to make the best of a really bad situation. I also reminded myself that no one died and no one had a brain tumor.
So I rose above the monster disappointment and I managed to participate at the event. I was not 100% myself, but I also had not allowed the habit of flying off the handle to derail me entirely.
How will you KNOW when the HABIT monster rears its massive head?
You will know because you will want to strike out, strike at and annihilate the person you are blaming.
That is when you have to RUN in the opposite direction. That is when you have to force yourself to step off of the bulldozer and pick up the littlest paint brush and take your time to uncover the layers of dirt and grime that have accumulated over the years.
This is when you have to be the best human you can be, all the while allowing your human emotions.
It takes patience and practice, but you have the time!
Time will be your friend if you let it!
Love & light,