Last week I shared with you a brilliant short video about mindfulness and how it empowers us. I reminded you that where our attention goes...our energy flows.
Staying with this theme of paying attention, I want to talk about habits.
In a recent conversation with a friend, she told me for Lent she gave up Facebook.
She admitted it was very hard. She wasn't 100% "successful" yet she learned a valuable lesson about habits.
Specifically she learned that her habit of incessantly checking Facebook was both an energy/time drain, and an emotional roller coaster. In giving up FB, while she may have felt more disconnected at times, she also felt more at peace. Interesting huh?
She noticed that each time she checked FB, she was emotionally triggered - either positively or negatively. This habit of checking FB was something she created and therefore was something she could change. The realization of this habit gave her a new interest in bringing greater awareness to her habits in general.
In the space of disconnecting (with discipline) from FB, she realized other habits in her life (the positive ones too!) that she engaged in. This recognition felt empowering for her. Why? It reminded her she is always in choice about how/where she is investing her energy/time.
Naturally this conversation got me thinking about my habits and how they define me. Meaning, if I am unaware of certain habits, I am living in somewhat of an asleep/unconscious state. I may be moving from one thing to the next because it's what I "always" do. This automatic behavior - habits - may be causing me to miss out on a more enjoyable and easier path!!!
AHA: The ability to step back and notice our habits gives us the awareness to choose consciously. Think of it as another form of meditation-- an active one!
Below are some examples of how my habits have dictated my thoughts, words and actions...and therefore have defined my life.
Thought Example: When I see a person being unkind, my habit is to think, "wow, that person is mean".
Habit Breaking Idea: Perhaps this person is having an awful day and they need my positive thoughts with a smile...and if I give my positive vibe, I feel better too!
Word Example: When someone accuses me of being unkind, my habit is to rush and defend myself...ME!? Unkind!?
Habit Breaking Idea: Perhaps I am having a bad day!! And I am being unkind in that moment. And my being "unkind" is a sign I need to be still, rest...nourish myself in some way.
Action Example: When someone I love doesn't acknowledge me when I do something generous for them, my habit is to withdraw emotionally.
Habit Breaking Idea: Perhaps it's about me learning (again and again!) to be generous without expecting something in return. Or about honoring that perhaps I need to do something for myself or ask someone I love to do something for me :)
Oh the wisdom to be learned in noticing our habits!!! The invitation is for you to notice your habits. Be gentle with yourself. Have fun with it :)