I came across a meme that said, “Sometimes you need a stop doing list as much as you do a to do list.”
To me stopping our not helpful behaviors is just as important as trying to do better.
It reminds me of something Dr Phil says to do. In a video, he tells us that to change our lives we must identify three different types of things. Number 1 we need to write down the things we are doing that is working. Number 3 is what do we need to start doing. Number 2 is to stop doing what is not working.
This is great advice. We should acknowledge that we have positive actions and build on our strengths. I believe each of us have the key to a good, happy life withing ourselves already. Let me repeat that. We are not deficient. We have nothing to add to make ourselves all we should be. Its a matter of finding it.
However, there are healthy actions that we need to start doing.
Perhaps most important is that we need to stop doing those things that are our personal road blocks. They could be labeled as maladaptive behaviors. In other words, we do things to cope with a problem or with certain situations, but they are not healthy.
We do them so often they become habits. There are obvious ones such as drink or eat or shop too much. The idea I have been thinking about is our reactions. We get into the habit of getting angry or shutting down.
Under the guise of getting something off our chests or letting someone have it that deserves it, we develop a pattern. That pattern becomes our life. Perhaps that is why people get grumpy as they age. Their whole life is a pattern of interpreting things as screwed up. We see less hope and a life of not breaking our patterns.
It becomes automatic to be sharp and angry. Perhaps it is reinforcing. We get a jolt of adrenaline from saying something sharp. If that doesn’t describe you, then perhaps you do it without considering how it affects others around us.
Either way, we are in danger of having an ugly life. In passing an ugly life to our children.