They say it takes 21 days to break a habit and it sure as heck took me at least that long to break that pesky habit of throwing my clothes on the floor! But, what about negative emotional habits? You know, the ones that are so ingrained in us; some even from a very young age. They can include things like having a negative ‘why me’ outlook, playing the victim, over thinking, getting angry or frustrated over things that don’t really matter, anxiety, stress, judgement, depression, and the list goes on.
Now, I most certainly do not claim to be any kind of expert. I am lucky enough to be able to write about my thoughts and experiences, and in my experience, emotional habits take a very long time to break and a lot of conscious effort. You are re-wiring a belief system; one that you have been following and committing to for many years. It has taken me quite some time to come to this realisation. I have always been strong willed (some call it stubborn) and for a lot of my life I resisted change, which is really quite silly because I love change. I was fine once the changed happened and in actual fact, I embraced it! The problem was, it was the thought of change that I resisted. I dug my heels in, trying not to have it happen so much because the very thought of changing was so painful.
In my early twenties, I met a psychic medium who I would visit quite often in the early years of my transformation. I also got spiritual healing at that time. I read a book that put me on the path of a better life and there was no going back! It is easy for me to write about this now, but back then, in my mid-twenties it was hard work. I fell off the inner change wagon many times, but I kept moving forward and each time I fell off I didn’t wallow in misery for as long as the last.
I started really looking at myself and my thoughts and behaviour, and it saddened me. I wasn’t a bad person, not by any means, but I had beliefs and behaviours that were no longer serving me well. I kept attracting the same guy and then left heart broken and wondering what on earth was wrong with me. The same can be said for my choice of friends. I put in so much, but was always left crushed by them. I had horrible job, after horrible job, and again wondered what I did to piss the universe off. On the surface, I would appear confident and happy, but deep down I was in turmoil. I wanted to change so badly, but just didn’t have any idea how.
So, what I have come to understand now is this. I believe there are three types of people in the world, I call them Boulders, Trees and Lakes.
People who are like boulders are the ones that just do not see any need to change. They stay who they are, they don’t really grow, and they don’t really move much from the person they are embedded into. After all, they are just a boulder, what is the point of changing? You can try with all your might to move a boulder, but they just won’t budge. Their thoughts are also stuck in one spot. Things tend to happen to them and around them. It is not to say they CAN’T change; it is that they just don’t want to.
People like trees are great! They have realised they want to be the best version of themselves that they can be, so they absorb as much knowledge and information as they can and each time they do they sprout a new branch. They grow, they change shape, they shed their old version of self and come out renewed and bigger. Trees also thrive with light and nurture. They also get so infected by the happiness that comes to them that they drop seeds to spread their happiness as far as possible and to as many places as possible. Their positivity is so amazing that their seeds create more wonderful trees in the world.
Then, you have people like lakes. Lakes are also pretty great; they provide for others, they change and adapt to their surroundings, but are just lacking that extra help to make them amazing. They don’t naturally change too much and need the help of others to make them be something special, to give them the chance to be what others love visiting and add the finishing touches. Lakes are full of potential and can be shaped and moulded into something wonderful. You always find trees around lakes!
I myself, was a lake. I wanted to be a better version of myself but just didn’t quite know where to start. Today, I consider myself a tree. The saying ‘A journey of a thousand mile begins with but one step” is quite fitting, because you just have to be brave enough to take that first step, and a lot of the time you are going against the trend. My story of spiritual transformation will be another story, but to say my life has changed is an understatement.
You absolutely can eliminate all the negative habits you have chosen to accept. It is a process and it will not happen quickly. Start with one thing at a time and you might find that by working on one another one also gets worked on. For example, if you work on your stress levels, you might find your anger, anxiety and frustration will disappear as well.
If you are on the journey of changing your negative habits, there are few things that could help. Here are a few tips that helped me:
Take note of how you are feeling before you visit friends, and also afterwards. Does the time with your friend/s enhance your mood? Or do you leave feeling drained, frustrated or down? Those friends that lift your mood; those are the ones you want to be investing most of your time with!
Read, read, read! Absolutely any self-help book that takes your fancy. You will always get something out of it, it may be one thing or it may be the entire book, either way it is beneficial to your growth. I recommend a book called “The Four Agreements” by Miguel Ruiz. I also recommend any book about the Law of Attraction. A simple one on this is “The Power” by Rhonda Byrne. For a more complex (but amazing!) book on this try “Ask and it is Given” by Esther and Jerry Hicks. It is a more difficult read, but it is so incredibly detailed and gives you some games to play to start the process.
Be kind to yourself. Give yourself a break when you stuff up. After all, you are human! Even the people who seem to have all of their shit together have bad days and fall off the happiness wagon. Accept it, recognise it but then move on. The longer you have the negative thought, the more power you give it, and that can lead to a very unhappy cycle. Let me give you an example:
You have a crappy job. You hate your job so much that you dread going to work every single day. You wish so much you had a different job and that it wasn’t such a nightmare to go to work. You then lose said crappy job and then you feel miserable that you no longer have a job or a form of income. You start worrying endlessly about money and not being able to afford things. You end up on Centrelink payments that barely cover the cost of living. You apply for many jobs that you don’t really want. You don’t get those jobs and the more rejections you get, the angrier and more stressed, sad and worried you get. And on and on it goes.
Now, that whole sad story could have been stopped from the second you lost that crappy job! The universe was giving you exactly what you wanted and an opportunity to get what you DID want. But what did you do? You just saw the negative of losing your job. You could have said, “Well that sucks! But I didn’t want that job anymore and now it has been taken from me. I am going on Centrelink benefits to help me out while I take some time to get that great job now I’m going to find the most awesome job”. Of course, you can take a bit of time to feel sad about losing a job, but don’t wallow. Have your breakdown moment and then do as many things as possible to feel good again and move on.
By the way, I did find my great job and I LOVE it!
Remember, inner change is an ongoing process, it never stops and is a wonderful life long journey.