Workshop - Habits
I hear of "New Year's Resolutions" every time January 1st rolls around, and, well.........I gave that up a long time ago. We all like to think of the habits we're going to give up like smoking, over-eating, drinking, etc. It's interesting that we rarely think of the emotional habits we are caught up in -- emotional habits formed when we were infants or toddlers or children or teenagers, or.........(I guess you're getting my idea) even yesterday; and, even though these emotional behaviors don't get us what we want, we continue to use them as though something might change -- it never does.
We can only be in charge of changing our behavior and let others worry about their own. If we attempt to change the behavior of others we are just letting someone else determine our inner state. This is a very simple, logical concept........and one of the most difficult in practice. The only thing we can change about another human being is how we perceive what their behavior is all about. We can see it in a light which allows us to observe it without criticizing, judging or justifying. If we work with this concept daily it makes our lives much easier.
The following is from a tape I first listened to in the 80's. It's wonderful in that here and now -- seventeen years later, it still has a very vital value for me. I hope it will for you too.
I think I will talk about habits tonight. The human being is very wonderfully performed so that you can form a habit very quickly. Now..... once you form a habit, it's very difficult to break it. So the most appropriate thing is not to break the habit because that's long and tedious and keeps reoccurring; but start another one that takes it's place. That's the easy thing to do because it's easy to start any habit; and if you do something that takes the same space, and you start another one, it works pretty well.
So..... one habit that many people have is to complain a little bit--not very frequently, of course, but every once in a while somebody does a little complaining. Now, it's useless to try to make up your mind to say that I'm going to quit complaining because pretty soon you'll be complaining because you complain so much. So the easiest thing to do instead of complaining is start finding things that you can be thankful for or pleased about or that you can find something complimentary about. So if you became in the habit of making complimentary statements about the weather, about business, about the economy -- that sometimes gets folks a little bit -- inflation (you know we get to handle so much more money -- don't buy any more but we have a lot of fun with it) and all these many things. One can find something pleasant to say. Now if you get in the habit of saying pleasant things, you don't have time to complain. So, very simply, you still are a complainer, but you're not using it at the moment. So you can get a new habit going of being pleasant. That's just as easy a word.
COMPLAINING ABOUT OUR HEALTH
Now....... another thing we complain about is our health. That's one of the things you hear frequently; so say the person has a habit of being sick to some degree. Now people that are sick think I'm very uncouth when I start saying it's a habit. But it really is. It's a habit to go around feeling crummy all the time. You really don't have to. If you started everyday acting like you feel a little better than you do and constantly telling everybody you couldn't feel better. That's really not lying because if you could you would be at the moment--so what's the difference. You just say "I couldn't be better." And if you keep that up for a little while, you begin to feel very healthy. It's just a matter of what habit you generate.
Now habits are very wonderful. How could we get our clothes on of a morning without habit. If every morning you had to learn how to dress again, there wouldn't be much else got done through the day because by the time you got 'em on, it would be time to start figuring out how to get 'em off. And it's take all day to fiddle around with that. So let's don't knock habits. We can choose what kind we're going to have.
It's another habit to be angry all of the time--or "ticked off." I can find something to be "ticked off" about every conceivable place, or people or anybody I've ever seen. Really -- there's nothing to it. They're bound to be doing something you don't like if you just set up enough "IDEALS" and it's very simple to do that. You know how everything ought to be and nobody fits that, so you can be ticked at them. But if you want to be angry all the time -- that's easy. Now..... lets say that I wanted to have something in place of that, because that's not healthy to carry that one around. It's not healthy physically. It's not healthy sociably. It's not healthy business-wise........... or anything else. You can just say it's not very healthy. Now instead of trying to quit being angry which would fizzle because then you'd only get angry at yourself for being angry all the time, one starts seeing what you can find nice about people. So you could be complimentary. If you are around a con man you can compliment him (at least mentally) on being one of the most efficient ones you're ever met, or an amateur, but at least compliment him. You could compliment a thief. He's been doing it for years and only been caught twice. He's good at his job.
If your son makes a mess, you can say he's made a bigger mess tonight than he did last night. He spread it further. You know, tonight he broke the dish, last night he only dropped it on the floor. So pretty soon if he gets compliments for things, there's no fun in doing them. Kids are very much like bullies you met on the street when you were a little girl. They'd give you a hard way to go. If you ran from them or cried, they'd keep it up. But if someday, you just stood there and looked at them and laughed, they couldn't "get your goat" anymore. Your son gets you all upset. The more times you give him attention for doing it, the more times he's going to do it. But you know he'll hardly do anything he's ignored for, huh? That about right? You don't do things you're ignored for? And kids are notorious for getting attention, and one of the ways they know they're going to get attention is to misbehave a little bit 'cause that gets you on the ball. And HE'S IN CHARGE OF YOUR INNER STATE, AND THAT GIVES HIM A SENSE OF POWER. So if you ignore it a few times; and act like it didn't happen, there's no fun in doing it anymore.
So you can always find something complimentary and certainly being angry about it isn't going to CHANGE it. If it would change it, it would be all right maybe. It might be all right if you could get angry and everybody would straighten up and fly right...... but has anybody here ever been angry?
Did it change anybody? Who? You? Them?
They got up and straightened up, or they just got angry at you?
So all we got is two of them angry.
If you're complimentary, people are seldom angry with you. So if I get angry with them, they would reciprocate by being angry with me to a degree, is that right? IF I let them know about it. It's just as easy to let that alone.
Another very common habit is worry. Now worry is "what if" this terrible calamity comes upon me tomorrow or later. So if we should take a little "look-see", would it be just as easy to imagine (it's all imagination anyway) all kinds of nice things happening "mañana" if we're going to do it. Huh? You know what mañana means..... that's when we're going to do things. We don't do it today, we do it tomorrow -- that's a good time to do things. If you're going to worry, would it be just as easy to imagine all sorts of wonderful things happening. Neither one of them will happen, , but something "in between" will. So why make all the commotion about it by being such a state of worry all the time. Huh?
The habit of fear is under the same category as worry. We're fearful of what will happen. Is that right? Fear is not of something THAT IS HAPPENING, but something that MIGHT HAPPEN. If something's really happening, you're startled and you'll do something about it. Fear is just some weird thing. We might as well imagine that all sorts of wonderful things are going to happen to us. As long as your going to amuse yourself with imagination, you might as well paint pretty pictures rather than horror pictures, is that right? You think in pictures either way and you scare yourself with one and amuse yourself with the other.
NOW LET'S TAKE SOME OTHER GOOD THING THAT YOU FEEL IS A REASONABLE HABIT TO HAVE. LET'S SEE IF WE COULD NOT BREAK THE HABIT, BUT SO REPLACE IT YOU DON'T HAVE TIME FOR THE OLD ONE.
That is one of the better ones. When the lady brings up procrastination, she's getting in my corner and that hurts. But we'll talk about it anyway. Procrastination, of course, is always that we're going to put it off until mañana. But of course, mañana never gets here. I'll put it off until tomorrow, and until tomorrow, and pretty soon the bill's overdue and I have to pay a penalty and all that good stuff. So we can start practicing and making a new habit of "DOING IT NOW." And that's just as easy and a lot of fun, and I have been doing that lately when I realized how much I was procrastinating. So when you start doing it now, it gets to be kinda fun. When a bill hits the desk, you might as well pay it now as tomorrow or next day. I really am going to have as much time today as I will tomorrow. So we could begin to do it now.
Oh, that's a "beaut." We have a habit of feeling guilty. An awful lot of people do. I've worked with lots of people and that's a very frequent one I hear is that "I feel guilty." Couldn't you just be proud you got by with it? 'Cause you see what guilt is is not that you did it....... it's afraid you're going to get caught. So I'm getting by with it so far. So we could compliment ourselves that "I'm getting by with it so far." That's absolute fact.
Now........... that's one of the better habits people get into, is feeling sorry for themselves because they're so unfortunate and everything has gone to pot and it's going to get worse, no doubt. So in self- pity one could begin to say that "I'm a very lucky person." Now if we choose to look around, we are very lucky. First thing, we're alive. Second, I can see. Third, I can hear. Fourth, I can touch, taste, feel and all those wonderful things. If I'm flat broke, that's not so bad; but if I'm unable to perform any way, or able to sense the world around me, and I'm not capable of walking around and doing things, then I probably have a little bit of a problem -- just a little bit. But I have nothing to feel sorry for myself because I'm able to stand up. I'm able to talk. I'm able to see. I'm able to hear.
"John" was telling me how poor he was one day. He was so broke -- and in debt. I said well I know a lady who will give $2 million dollars for two eyes. She has a surgeon who says he can transplant her two eyes from somebody else if she can find a donor. She's blind--she'll give two million to have eyes. Will you give yours? John yelled no, he wasn't interested in selling.
So now then if you got a little self-pity, all it takes is a little bit of awareness to see "I'm the luckiest person around." If I am aware of that, I can form the habit of being conscious that I am the luckiest person I could think of. I am very, very lucky.
Trying to please everybody. That's based on the one of fear or worry. It comes up the worry that you're not going to please them. So when you have the habit of trying to please everybody, and you really didn't want to please them -- well some of them. If I'm really interested in pleasing people, it's really immaterial, but I only make a problem out of it when I'd rather not, and I don't know how to say "no." So the reason we try to please everyone is that we don't know how to say "no" gracefully. And I always learn ways to say "no" gracefully. I would really love to, but I've made previous arrangements. I really intend to stay home tonight and trim my toenails. If anybody asks "What are your previous arrangements.", I ask if they've seen the rhinologist lately, they seem to have nose trouble. The rhinologist is a nose specialist. We were taught since little children "You don't say no to me." Is that right? So I'll just have a very good reason why I can't and I don't just say "no."
Well, we could just act "UP" a lot. I like to be a little entertaining, you know. I've gotten in the habit of doing that. I've made a habit of contributing to a pleasant, harmonious mood wherever I may be. Now it's a habit. It's just as natural as breathing to me. It wasn't always such , because I used to be bashful and hid behind and didn't contribute to nobody's well being. But now it comes natural to me because it is a habit to contribute to a pleasant mood, instead of the ups and downs and depressions and self pity, guilts... and fears.... and anxiety. I don't see that those states are going to help anyone but the doctor and the undertaker, and I'm not interested in helping either one of them today -- professionally.
I always consider at least if I'm by myself I have good company. I'm going to have a pleasant, harmonious mood if I'm driving down the road in my truck, I want a pleasant mood in there. So the one sure person I want to have a good mood is me. That's the way I can contribute to other people's moods when I'm around. That easy enough.
SO DO THESE GIVE YOU SOME LITTLE INKLING THAT YOU CAN HAVE ANY HABIT YOU WANT. YOU MIGHT AS WELL HAVE HABITS OF SURVIVAL, HAPPINESS, COMPASSION, CARING AND LOVING. WHY BOTHER WITH HOW UNFORTUNATE, HOW PITIFUL, OR HOW CONTANKEROUS MY KID IS...... OR ANYTHING ELSE.
(You're very lucky he can throw a bowl across the floor.)
EXPLANATIONS -- WHY
You have a habit of asking why--and no matter what answer you get, you say "WHY THAT." Every kid at about the age of five goes though a "why" series -- so some of us hang up there; and we can decide we'd like to move out of the 5-year-old stage. Instead of asking why, we can start being glad we can see that "IT IS." I'm glad that it is. And I'm glad that I don't have to know why, because it's working without me knowing why. I'm very thankful I don't have to know why everything works. I don't have to know why tape picks up here and makes a recording. I don't even care. I know that it does. I don't know why people open up stores to sell men's clothes. I could never figure that out -- but I'm very glad they do. I don't know why anybody would manufacture automobiles. It's a big bother, I've been in the manufacturing business, but they do. I don't know why people make movies, do you? But I'm glad they do. I don't know why anybody would hire you, but I'm glad they do. So we don't have to have answers to "why." I would be in a royal mess continually........... day and night!
SELF-CONSCIOUS -- BASHFUL
Believe it or not, I used to be bashful -- very, very much so. If anybody even asked me to answer a question sitting down, it was terrible -- but standing up, it was totally impossible. I'd forget my own name. So one time I got in an occasion where I was in somewhat of a debate. I was having all kinds of difficulties, but I managed to say a few "smart-ass" remarks that made the opponent cry, and I've never been bashful since. So get somebody's goat and get it over with. Once. That's all. So one begins to act confident.
WE GET IN THE HABIT OF DOING ALL SORTS OF THINGS VERY EASILY. IF YOU JUST DO SOMETHING A FEW TIMES, IT IS THEN A HABIT. NOW IF YOU STARTED DOING THESE NEW HABITS, YOU WOULD HAVE TO DO IT CONSCIOUSLY -- JUST LIKE YOU DID THE OTHER ONES. YOU HAD TO START JUST A LITTLE BIT CONSCIOUS, DON'T YOU KNOW. THE OLD ONES OF ANGER, PLEASING, DEPRESSION, SELF PITY, PROCRASTINATION, FEAR, WORRY, AND THE WAY TO GET THINGS WAS TO COMPLAIN,--IT WAS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE TO BE SICK, BECAUSE EVERYONE WAITS ON YOU AND LOOKS AFTER YOU AND QUITS FUSSIN' AT YOU 'CAUSE YOU'RE SICK.
Put just a little effort on the new habit for just a week. It means the difference between well-being and unwell-being. You know you might say the old ones are sick habits. And the new ones are fairly healthy.
It is no problem to have any one you want.
From : "HABITS"
TUESDAY NIGHT TALKS -- RHONDEL -- 6/9/80