Reflections on Habits/Addictions: We call something an addiction when we disapprove of what we are doing (drinking, smoking, gaining weight). We call repetitive behavior a discipline when we approve of what we are doing (exercising, supporting our families, parenting our children). We consider disciplines a function of choice, while we see addictions or habitual actions something not in our control. Ah, mythology.
It's all about choice. If we choose to embrace what we call "addictions" or "habits" as choice then we give ourselves ownership and empowered our ability to change. Otherwise, we view ourselves as victims and not in charge of our behaviors. We're always in charge and that's not a bad thing but an opportunity for liberation. If I acknowledge "I choose" this or that repetitive behavior (each choice happens in the present), then I will more likely then see the way to taking responsibility to choose anew, to choose differently in the next moments. Repetitive choices ("habit") are no more powerful than any choice we make at any time. It's all make-belief so we get to make-believe we're always empowered to make new and different choices or we're always victims of our past and past choice. Life begins anew right now.
Love and smiles, Bears
Alison S. T. - I think we can also complicate things further by believing that the habits/addictions serve a purpose for us, like eating or drinking too much as a way of dealing with unhappiness in our lives - 'drowning our sorrows' in my experience this doesn't work because sorrow knows how to swim. But in the short term we embrace the habit because we believe we are taking care of ourselves and then afterwards when we find it didn't help we then judge our actions as being bad and ourselves as weak. However by the very act of judging what we did we push it away meaning that we don't change. I have found that using an Option process dialogue really helps untangle this thinking, which gives us a way to take ownership of each part of this separately so that we can make new choices.
Hayley B. - I love this one, thank you.
Simone D. L. T. - "Sorrow can swim" is genius Alison!
Erin P.- So perfect, for me , in this moment, to share with others perfect...HOW Magical!
Judy M. - We create the conditions of our lives by what we think and believe. So if we are thinking that a behavior is out of control and call it an addition then we strenghten it and create more of it in our lives. If we turn that limiting belief around, we can open ourselves up to a new possibility, a new way, and a new behavior.When I realized that my feelings were responses to my thoughts and beliefs and I was the one putting them in my head, I stopped overeating and out of control (addiction) emotional eating. I just changed the way I thought which changed the way I felt. I now have control over my eating, emotions, and life! Also as a bonus, I now eat like a naturally thin person and I have let go of 20 pounds easily and effortlessly.
Rekha N.- I have got this really great new habit, I keep texting, emailing and telling my loved ones how much I love them. Something I was almost ashamed to do before, but it feels so good! I love you Bears, thank you for changing my world by sharing your love. Please pass my love on to one of the most exceptional women I have ever met, your stunning wife Samharia.x
Bears Barry Neil Kaufman - To Rekha and all of you who posted about my notation on habits and addictions. So much thoughtful responses and exciting additions. Thank you for enriching my life and for enriching each other's life. Rekha - you have been a blessing. Check out Rekha's interview at www.option.org, see right hand column, click on live interviews and you'll see her sweet face. Love and optimism, Bears
Bears Barry Neil Kaufman - Dear Amazing Rekha: Did you know you are an "original!." A Force Of Nature" not only for your family but a daring, self-student of yourself. I watched your interview on the Option Institute website (www.option.org) with another participant two days ago...and the person said...she's (you) so inspiring and so honest and so self-revealing. On folks who find a strong and solid place inside can show up like that on the outside. No, neither you no I are the perfect versions of ourselves yet...but we keep growing. I am teaching the Empowering Yourself program this week...daring to go for what you want, no matter what the evidence. It's all about beliefs. Love, Bears
Rekha N. - Thank you for those comments sweet Bears. My Dad taught me at a very tender age to go for what I want and not to let anything stand in my way, he said "be like a world wind, don't let anything be an obstacle", I was just like that for many... years full of this energy but coupled it with anger and other emotions. In the last couple of years I have changed and I aspire to become a different force of nature perhaps a sunrising from the horizon, gentally lovingly spreading my warmth but still just as unstoppable! Thank you for showing me there is more than one way of being powerful. hugs and smiles, Rekha.x