Why We Stay Attached To What Isn't For Us
How you can let go of what's holding you back
It doesn’t make any sense.
If we notice ourselves making choices that are making our lives worse, you’d think we would–you know–stop making those choices.
When we put our hand on a hot stove, we don’t recoil in pain, then choose to do it again. We recognize what we’ve done is painful and make sure not to repeat the mistake.
On the other hand, we:
stay in relationships that make us feel less than we are
hang around people that pressure us into bad habits
rely on substances that make us feel numb
work jobs that take over our lives with stress
keep believing limiting stories about who can be
ignore basic diet changes that would make us feel healthier
never try once to push ourselves to be as great as we can be
Why–if we know these things are bad–don’t we stop doing them in the same way we are sure not to touch the hot stove again? It only seems logical.
And that’s the problem. The stuff we get attached to isn’t logical. They’re emotional–and emotions don’t care about logic. They care about feeling.
We get stuck in patterns of behaviors we know aren’t good for us because they feel familiar. And let’s face it–life can be scary, confusing, and stressful on a good day. So it’s no surprise that we gravitate towards things that ground us, even if it grounds us in negativity.
Doing this leads to long stretches of unhappiness and stagnation. Negative behavior patterns can be tough to break, too. That’s because they create cognitive dissonance. This is when you hold two truths in your mind that contradict each other. Like if you know smoking cigarettes is killing you, but keep doing it anyway. The comfort that our bad habits offer makes us validate our behavior.
However, once we recognize the negative pattern we’re stuck in, we have an opportunity to stop repeating the cycle and choose to act in a new way.
Now, doing this takes courage. That’s because we are taking a risk. We are deciding to remove something from our lives that gives us a sense of comfort. We are knowingly moving forward into a window of time where we might not be able to rely on something–even if it’s negative–to ground ourselves with. We might also worry that we won’t be able to find a new, positive way to feel that same sense of comfort and grounding in our lives.
But here’s a little secret:
The courage it takes to leave behind what’s not for you anymore is the same courage that will help you find your way to what is.
That’s all you have to remember. When you decide it’s time to stop repeating the behaviors you know are contributing to your unhappiness, you can take action and make choices that are good for you with confidence and self-trust. Because by the simple act of choosing to improve your life, you’ll have shown yourself that you don’t need to be grounded in anything other than yourself.
That’s all for today.
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What can you let go of that you know will make you happier?