With the normalization of unhealthy ideas seemingly everywhere lately, I’ve been forced to really look at what is normal to me and whether or not it’s healthy. We use our experiences in life to create our own personal “normalcy” and whether it is healthy can often be up for debate. Sometimes we just need one outburst or panic attack to realize that our normal is unhealthy and we can fix the idea. There are other normals so ingrained in our brain that even when we realize just how damaging the idea is, we still find ourselves falling victim to it’s clutches more than once. Recently there was a story about some guys who created a bike that worked opposite of what a normal bike operates. Try as they did, they couldn’t ride it. One guy took it upon himself to learn to ride it. I can’t remember exactly how long it took him, but I think it was 8 months or so. He took this on the road, showing his ability to ride it and challenging others to try. One day someone in the crowd asked if he could ride a regular bike. At first he couldn’t, but after a few tries he was right back riding it. He had to work hard to change from one normal to another completely new normal, but reverted back to the old with relative ease. This is true with our behavioral patterns as well. To change from our old normal to a new, healthier normal takes hard work and perseverance, but eventually we can. It takes significantly less work to go back to what we know, no matter how unhealthy it was. We are comfortable with familiarity, so we hold onto old patterns even if they are painful. At this point it takes more than a positive attitude. It takes more than faking it til you make it. It takes real, intentional, conscious work to change. It will suck, it will hurt, and your mind will fight you hard, but little by little, step by step, you can and will change.
There is no room for perfectionism in changing. Change is a dirty business filled with booby traps and pitfalls, so you will fall face first into a puddle of mud a few times. There will be the temptation to expect perfection from yourself. Remember that expectation is coming soley from yourself, not from those who love you and support you. When people point out a positive change it’s easy to lose yourself in pressure to remain in that state forever. In this situation again it is your own mind putting that pressure on you. That expectation is yours and is an unhealthy and unrealistic one. I fall victim to my own expectations more than I’d like to admit, but I’m beginning to be more cognisant of it. That’s important. Recognizing what’s not working is the first step to positive change. Be ready for work, take the small victories, be kind when you fall, admit when you’re wrong and get back up. Push on, my friends.