It might seem that right now there is little that you can do but revert to your old ways. If you’ve learnt self observation then perhaps you’re used to your patterns of behaviour.
Perhaps you can clearly map out and identify your old ways. And if you can do that then you can also choose a different action. If you’d normally say yes, say no. If you’d normally offer patience maybe try being a little less considerate.
I think too often we fall into this rigid idea of self as though there is something wrong with consciously experimenting with who we are. For example, you could be someone who always listens to people vent despite the fact that it leaves you feeling drained because you think it makes you a good friend.
Instead you could try something different such as saying, ‘I know you’re going through this frustrating situation but I don’t have the space to listen to you vent at the moment.‘
And it always feels weird the first time simply because it’s new, not as an indication of it being the wrong thing to do.
Then, overtime you might find that you prefer your new way of doing things and you can put your old ways aside.
It seems sometimes that we shy away from being in conversation or an environment with people that we disagree with.
I’ve previously written that I think it’s worth unfollowing people on social media that you disagree with. The reason for this is that on social media it’s rare that people with differing opinions have a back and forth that benefits either of them.
However, I don’t think we should seek to create a life that is simply an echo chamber of our own thoughts and beliefs.
It’s a great thing to be able to engage with people that have different opinions to you. I think the problem arises when we forget that we have the option to accept someone else’s opinion and understand that they see things differently without having to prove your point or change someone’s mind.
Think of something in your life that is not quite where you want it to be. Close your eyes and visualise waht it would be like if it was perfect.
Most of us have things in our lives that we wish were at least a little bit different to how they are right now. We have ideas or daydreams in out minds of the way way we wish things were or the way we’d like things to be. Sometimes we hold on so tight to these ideas and daydreams that we end up beeleiving they are the only path to take for things turning out perfectly (or at least just good).
But of course that’s not the case. Things could turn out 101 different ways and still be perfect. By holding on to a single vision of perfection you close yourself off to all the other kinds of perfect that you may never have anticipated.
So often, we get deeply and strongly attached. We hope that things will remain as they are.
We fear that change might bring in what we don’t want and clear out what we do want.
But, I like to believe that as wonderful and perfect as things might be right now, everything could be different and still be wonderful and perfect.
That serves as a reminder that it’s okay for things to change.
There is no need to hold great attachment to the way things are, in doing so we don’t allow space for the new.
New might not be ‘better’ but it will be different. It’s the opportunity to experience something you’ve never experienced, it’s a chance to learn and grow.
The way your world operates would be quite different if you lived in another period or in another country. You’d be living a life made up of slightly or even totally different systems to the ones you currently know.
That’s something that may have crossed your mind multiple times.
But, do you ever take it one step further?
What if the systems upheld in our current society, that contribute so heavily to what we consider important or even real, were given an over haul.
Maybe some of what you consider to be ‘just the way things are’ could change and become something different, something better.
It’s worth thinking about, not to inspire you to overthrow the status quo but because this is your life.
Many times we get so caught up in the way the world is, that end up placing the most importance on the things that matter the least.
Some people enjoy arguing.
They love it, it fuels them and they will seek it out.
They’re rarely interested in understanding other people or sharing what they know instead they want to dominate and they want to be right.
You may find yourself often getting drawn in but by then it’s too late, you’ve gotten swept up in it all. All of sudden you’re passionately explaining your point of view hoping the other person will take it in enough to agree to disagree and move on.
But the other person tells you no, they tell you you’re wrong and they try to invalidate your opinion by saying you don’t understand.
And in these kinds of situations when you’re being baited in order for the dialogue to continue it’s easy to get riled up. It’s easy to try to get the other person to accept that it’s okay to see things differently. More often than not your efforts are to no avail.
And so the growth point is in choosing to not engage even if you think this time might be different.
The exchanges are rarely helpful and you just end up leaving them frustrated wishing you didn’t once again get drawn in.
Over the past couple of months I have become more and more aware of all the thoughts and opinions of others that I consume each day.
If you also use social media and regularly consume content such as podcasts or YouTube videos then chances are, you’ve felt it too.
I had began to find that even though podcasts, Twitter and Instagram were a regularly part of my routine, I wasn’t really enjoying them the way I used to.
And this had nothing to do with the people I was following or listening to as their content hadn’t really changed. It was more that I had changed. I decided that, even if it was just a temporary thing, I wanted to honour the fact that at that point in time, I wanted something different.
So, I logged out of my social media accounts and I stopped listening to the podcasts that were once my favourites. That gave me room to explore new things and spend time listening to podcasts that I enjoy rather than simply listening out of habit or familiarity.
At the beginning of this year I made some changes to this site.
I wanted to make it more visually appealing, I wanted to make it better.
And so I looked for inspiration, jotted down some ideas then got to work.
The end result was something very far from what I’d stuck with for the past 2 years. However, it was much closer to the look of a site I read fairly often.
I’d invested time into creating a header, logo and trawling through themes and customisation options so I stuck with it. I didn’t love the look of the site but I felt as though I’d spent too much time to go back to the old look.
After a while I grew to dislike the look of my site, I just couldn’t get used to it. Perhaps because the look I had chosen wasn’t really my idea.
And so I went back to the old look.
Sometimes going back to the way things were is exactly what you need.
If what you’re doing isn’t working, try something else. It really is that simple yet we often end up making things more complicated than they need to be.
We moan and complain about the way things are and daydream about the way we wish things could be. But we forget that actually things can change and things can be different if we choose another option. In moments it might seem like you’re stuck but there are always options available to you.
Choosing a different way may require patience and it might not be easy but trying something new is much better than sticking with what’s not working.
I’m really into self-observation and learning about why we are the way we are.
I find behaviour to be quite fascinating. I’ve learnt that often how we act is down to the people we surround ourselves with and the people we allow ourselves to be influenced by rather than just something ingrained within.
It might be easy to blame external factors for why you are the way you are. But that doesn’t mean you can’t change.
The same way you learned to be one way you can choose to learn to be different (and hopefully better).