Habits – how they impact our lives

I have just read this thought provoking quote.

“We first make our habits and then our habits make us”.

This was a very interesting quote to read as we have had someone staying with us for a few days who is an example of how someone’s habits have made them into the person they are – and sadly in this instance, not in a good way.

This particular person is one of those people whose glass is half full.  Well actually I would suggest even less than half full.  And yet to most people, he has not got much to complain about in his life.  He has sufficient money; He is able to choose how he spends his time and is in good health.

He is someone who over a period of many years has become hard-wired to looking for the worst in any given situation. This negative view of life has become an subconscious habit which has become more defined the longer he lives.

The thing is this habit of being a sorrowful, negative Eeyore (but not as lovable), means that is the reality of his life.  As a result because he is so miserable and intolerant, people are rude, off-hand and don’t make much of an effort with him.

I certainly am very careful what I talk to him about, and tend to disappear off as soon as I find myself feeling weighed down and with no choice but to agree to something I don’t agree to, or alternatively disagree with him, which makes me seem as disagreeable and negative as him. If that makes sense.

The thing is Habits are essential to the flow of our lives as they allow us to do things and make choices on automatic pilot.

But it is not just the physical things we do which become habits but our reactions to situations which can become habits.

The thing is when you think about it we can spend our whole day on automatic pilot. Doing exactly the same things taking the same safe or apparently safe choices. Whether it is eating the same breakfast cereal or taking the same route every day.

Most of these practical choices are based on familiarity and hopefully have some logic to them.  But we also copy and learn behaviour that has been passed down from our parents or peers.   And it is some of these beliefs which can become negative habits and have a very negative effect on our lives.

For example how do you react when you are running late?  If you always are irritable and stressed when you are late, then this maybe have become a bit of a habit – and that habit may define who you are and how you are perceived by others as someone who becomes unnecessarily stressed when put under a little pressure.  And of course the examples stretch on and on, into all parts of our lives.

Of course this means that if we do wish to improve on an aspect of ourselves we just need to look at our habits and remember “We first make our habits and then our habits make us”.

 

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