“We first make our habits and then our habits make us”.
This was a very timely quote for me to read today because we have had someone staying with us for a few days who epitomises the above quote and not in a good way.
This 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 has become hard-wired to looking for the worst in any given situation. This negative view of life has become a subconscious habit which has become more defined the longer he lives. And one he is completely oblivious too.
When you are negative – you get negativity back
The thing is this habit which he has developed of behaving in negatively in almost any given situation and his view that the world is against him has resulted in his reality largely reflecting that.
He constantly complains that people are rude, off-hand and ignore him. He doesn’t realise it is because he is intolerant, negative and miserable and appears rude and off-hand to them.
I certainly watch 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.
How our reactions eventually become habits
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.
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. But how does this learned behaviour play out in our own lives?
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 develop into habits that can a detrimental effect on our lives without us even really being conscious of this happening.
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 habit. That habit may define who you are and how you are perceived by others, who believe you are a grumpy, and someone to steer clear of when either your own or more often, others time management is driving you mad. This is just one example of a habit that develop and permeate our lives – but there are lots and lots of others.
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”.