Lately I’ve been doing things that SCARE me, every day.
This might sound admirable, but really, it’s a drag. Creating your own reality is more about chipping away at the chronic, vaguely annoying decisions you make all the time that you can no longer see are hurting you in the long run.
This isn’t the glamorous sort of risk-taking.
Most recently, I’ve been exploring the ways in which I make life HARDER for myself than it actually is. Maybe this doesn’t sound like “doing something that scares me,” but it is. Because it requires calling myself on behavior PATTERNS I’ve been lounging in for years like a set of comfy pajamas. And once called out, they no longer feel SAFE.
For example, around 6pm, I don’t just make dinner. I THINK about dinner for an hour, open the fridge and cupboard doors repeatedly and declare there is nothing there, then OBSESS about what an inconvenience it is to have to MAKE dinner every night when I have to WORK all day…and before you know it, I’m ANGRY that I can’t afford a housekeeper, a cook, or a nanny and FRUSTRATED that I’m spending a fortune on ready-to-cook meals from Trader Joe’s. By 7pm, I’m eating a bowl of chips and waiting for the pizza guy, and no one gets a real meal.
WAAAAYYY harder than just making dinner.
It’s OK, of course. We all do this, or variations of it. The human mind is built to do this – to question, analyze, catastrophize, PROTECT. To make sure we have considered ALL ANGLES of a dilemma, lest there be a hungry tiger just around the corner.
The problem, though, is two-fold. In modern life, the dangers MANIFEST differently than the ones our bodies were designed to protect us from. We often see THREAT where there is NONE, and we overlook threat when it is real. So the behavior patterns that result from our attempts to stay SAFE from IMAGINED dangers usually end up causing us more HARM, over time, than good.
In my example, my BODY believes it is protecting me from the “danger” of overwhelm by rationalizing that it’s better to take the “simple path” of ordering out. But in the long run, this is harming my own HEALTH and the health of my family – because we eat later, we eat more processed food, and we experience emotional STRESS around eating dinner together.
How to get out of this LOOP?
The FIRST STEP (and that’s all we’re focused on today)
is to allow myself to SEE these PATTERNS for what they are.
To stare them in the face WITHOUT JUDGING myself.
I can write them down, keep a LIST.
I can take a BREATH when I’m in the middle of it.
I can tell myself this is HUMAN.
We all do this shit.
And that means, to REVERSE it is human EVOLUTION.
To stare our patterns in the face, take a breath, have compassion for this very human condition, and MAKE A DIFFERENT CHOICE?
So, this week, take a little JOY in noticing the automatic patterns that actually keep YOU down,
That make you feel a little crazy, or angry, or small, or RIGHT.
Write them down.
Make a LIST.
Notice how you FEEL in your body as you explore.
That’s Step One.
It will lead you to whatever Step Two is, for YOU…