I am discovering something about myself lately. My head is a scary place to live. I guess it’s like an old house. If you keep up with the housekeeping and repairs, an old house can be a really nice place to live. It can be warm, inviting, full of whimsy and charm. But start to let things slide and the house quickly falls into disrepair. This is a pretty good metaphor for the way my mind is, lately.
I know that, in order to be happy, I have to work at it. I KNOW that. But I don’t always do it. Much like exercise. I KNOW I’ll feel better after a workout, but it’s still a struggle sometimes to get me to do it. Why is that? Why do I fight so hard against things that will make me feel better. In Stop Saying You’re Fine, Mel Robbins says it’s because we’re programmed to resist change because way back when we were cave people change often meant death. But that’s not true anymore, so why do we still have the programming?
I guess it’s hard-wired in there, so it’s up to us to overcome it. And that’s what I’m trying to do here: overcome my internal resistance to being happy. Because that’s what it is. In order to be happy, I have to grow and change, and experience new things. If I’m programmed to resist that, then I’m programmed against happiness and I have to fight the programming.
I’m better at it some days than others. I find that if I read something uplifting every day I catch a little of that spirit and it helps me to believe in myself. It helps me to be happy. But it’s almost like a drug: if I go too long without a dose then I go into withdrawal. It’s worst on the weekends when I spend so much of my time catching up on physical housework and other chores I have very little time to check in on my mental and spiritual housework. Doubt creeps in, and self-loathing. I forget what it means to be happy and my inner voice does nothing but criticize my efforts to change things. The old mantras come back. “It’ll never work.” “You’re stuck here.” “It is what it is.” “You’re too fat/old/broke to be able to do that.” “No-one cares.” I have to assume this is part of the programming to resist change. It flat-out sucks, though, because it’s way easier to believe the inner critic than it is to believe in my own, unlimited potential.
So I had an idea. I need a daily fix of positivism to keep me trucking along towards joy. I like to read, so I’ll make sure I read at least one chapter out of a self-help book every day. It’ll be like my own personal coach cheering me on. This is often how I feel, reading books, as if I’m visiting with friends (old friends, if I’m reading a book I’ve read before). So that should help.
But there’s also a lot of support out there for daily affirmations. It seems we believe what we’re told. So if I tell myself every day what a loser I am, I believe it and stop trying. But if that’s true, then so is the reverse: if I talk to myself with a positive attitude and tell myself something good about myself every day, I’ll eventually believe that. Up until now I’ve dismissed this as terribly corny, but I’m willing to give it a try. So in the interest of making myself feel better, and spreading some joy while I’m at it, in the next few days I’ll open up a Twitter account and post a daily affirmation. I’ll do my best to make it as least-corny as possible, but I make no promises other than I will Tweet every day something positive and uplifting, for at least one month, so keep an eye out, all!
Finally, despite the season, I hope your own head is more like a cozy cottage and less like the haunted mansion. Remember, housekeeping is key, and it doesn’t just apply to your house! You mind and spirit need upkeep, too! I’m off to give my mind a good polish, and I wish you all a joyful day!
(After I finished writing this I read a chapter in Og Mandino’s University of Success and came across this quote:
“When we cease to grow, we begin to die.” – Cavett Robert
Pretty apt, huh?)