Sometimes it takes us changing the way we behave in order to alter the way we think and feel. Right now, you’re stuck in behaviors you’ve been doing for so long that the behaviors have become of your identity. It’s very scary to alter these habits because it feels like a shift in your entire self-concept—an identity that feels safe and comfortable, even if it’s creating unhealthy patterns in your life. You have become used to the unhealthy!
But if you could find the discipline to stop doing the things that aren’t serving you or start behaving in ways that do serve you, then you will essentially help your mind believe that you don’t need the old behaviors to remain safe or comfortable, and that in fact creating new, healthier habits will lead to greater comfort and security. Your mind needs proof to believe you can change and still be safe. So, show it! Let’s try…
One very common example of a non-serving but addictive behavior is complaining. Complaining to others feels like it gets us comfort, attention, and sympathy, which are sentiments we all need in troubling times. We, of course, need the support of others during our most difficult moments. However, many of us complain regularly, daily, even hourly…and this is not only unnecessary but rather unhealthy. Complaining regularly draws in negative energy and attention, and too much of it serves to drive others away from us, the exact opposite of the behavior’s intended function.
So, I challenge you: For one week, stop complaining! Watch yourself, monitor your words; when you hear a complaint begin out of your mouth, stop it. I know, it will be difficult—it’s just so natural at this point, it feels like YOU… This is your challenge! When you feel down or feel any emotion that usually leads to a complaint, instead write down your thoughts and feelings privately on a piece of paper. Keep writing until all of your complaints are out on the paper and there’s nothing left to write. Then, repeat to yourself the following statements and feel what it’s like to believe they are actually true: “I love me. I will protect me. I’m going to handle all this stuff, I promise.” Do this all week: Stop complaining, write it down, and then repeat statements of self-care.
If you need help taking action or if you’re really down in the dumps and need comfort, then ask for it from someone you trust. But don’t complain unless you’re willing to receive help in changing the situation. Then witness as your new behavior begins to shape your thoughts and feelings. If you stop complaining, even for one week, you may get more positive feedback from others, much healthier and caring thoughts toward yourself, and a far greater constructive and productive attitude about life. In the end, you may just end up with nothing much to complain about. How’d that be for a new identity? Scary, right? Nah…you’ll handle it.
If you can change this behavior and the unhealthy thoughts as a result…just think of what other non-serving habits you could stop next!