I was having a conversation a couple of days ago and the proverbial lightning struck. After saying â€œthat is what I am shooting for, Iâ€™m just not there yetâ€ for about the third or fourth time, I realized that I have a dependency problem. I am dependent on my bad habits and vices.
While it is true taht I need to form new good habits, I also need to acknowledge and break my bad ones. This may not seem like a major revelation to you, perhaps it shouldnâ€™t even have been to me, but it was. I have always thought I could/would/should improve my life by forming new good strong habits. While this is a good thing to do, I also have to break my bad ones, and those two things are far less interconnected than I have imagined them to be.
For example, limiting myself to affirming positive conversations, being uplifting instead of conversing by reduction (bringing people or things down) requires not only a focus on the positive, but a concerted effort to break my dependency on the low hanging fruit of snark and sarcasm.
I grew up surrounded by sarcasm, in my home, in my school and in my community. The cool kids were also the snarky ones. If you could throw down a quick quip here and there, you were a â€œmade man,â€ if notâ€¦ well future quips probably had something to do with you. Sarcasm became part of me, second nature (perhaps even first nature, to be honest), and over the years I have developed an dependency upon it. In some ways, it defines me, and something that defines you is never easy to let go of, even after you recognize it as not being one of your better characteristics.
Surrounding myself with positively messaged music that inspires and uplifts requires me to also remove the remaining vestiges of negative or angry music. Again, many of those songs in one way or another define me, or at least define a past stage of my life. How do you reject the theme songs of your 20â€™s without rejecting yourself in the process?
It takes no effort to immerse myself in India Arie and Michael Franti; however, making my toes stop tapping and my arms stop waving to Snoop, Dre and 2pac just isnâ€™t as easy. I know what I want to do, I just struggle to do it.
I extol the virtues of â€œgreenâ€ but only in the last 48 hours have I begun turning off the computers every night. I rail against waste, and then I walk down to Jack in the Box and grab a 5 piece bag of mini-churos, supporting that poster child of excess, gluttony and waste, the fast food restaurant.
I want to eat well, I want to eat local and I want to stop supporting establishments that produce, encourage or enable waste. But I grew up with treats, I like sweets, and sometimes my desire for it overrides my passion for conservation.
In other words sometimes, my bad habits, which I have not broken, overpower the good habits that I have embraced.
The bottom line is this. My development as the person I want to become is, at times, being outpaced by my desire to become the person I want to become. I cannot break all of my bad habits fast enough to clear the way the good ones to replace them.
So I wind up , for a period of time, at least, being a hypocrite. Not because I am , in fact, unwilling to simultaneously make things good for both the goose and the gander, and certainly not for want of doing so, but because I am in simply not there yet on letting go.
I know the right behavior, I preach the right behavior, but I have not let go of the bad behavior completely yet. Much like a smoker, alcoholic or drug user who is hooked, knows better, tells others of their mistakes and pitfalls so that they can learn from themâ€¦ and then falls back into them; I wind up dipping back into the pool while at the same time cautioning my children (for example) not to get into it in the first place.
Yep, Iâ€™m an addictâ€¦. an addict of my own pastâ€¦ an addict of myself. Iâ€™m working hard every day to kick the habit, and the first step is admitting you have a problemâ€¦ right?