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Healthy Perspective

Unlearning old habits

Sometimes we have a realization of a habit that we no longer want to do. We automatically label it as "bad," and forget that playing this way has brought us this far already. Unlearning this one and replacing it with another will enable us to play "better," yes, but it's easy to jump to conclusions. I remember my body mapping class that encouraged us to merely observe what we were already doing. Eloise Ristad, in Soprano on her Head, even encourages us to enhance a habit so we can truly observe it. She argues that sometimes that makes it go away without all these negative attempts to "not do it" (forgive my paraphrasing, I could not find the page number). It's a habit, of course we are going to do it.

Another potential solution that I learned from Dr. Rob Murray (vicariously through Dylan Boyd) is to focus entirely on what we want our new habit(s) to be. We say, "this is what I'm going to do." In the process of doing we will learn something new about ourselves. Finding a healthy way to be objective in observation is the only way to move forward in habit building. Once we start labeling habits as "bad" or "good" before we have truly experienced them is not very helpful in the habit learning process. Let's be gracious to ourselves while really going after what we want.

Time to keep exploring,

Adam C White