The Reality of Our Habits
You tell 'em, Ben...GO, Dude!!
Benjamin Franklin, according to all and anything ever recorded throughout History, was an incredibly wise and talented gentleman. Since none of us ever met the man or chatted with him over coffee, we know only what we read in historic record.
This then, leaves it up to each of us, to determine what sort of human being he was during his lifetime. It's quite possible that someone at some point, wrote about Ben in a not-so-complimentary manner, exposing a few of his hideous and annoying personal habits. If so, I've not run across this bit of historic information. We can, however, safely rationalize that being a mere mortal man, Ole Ben had two or three of those habits.
All due respect, of hundreds of quotes attributed to Mr. Franklin, this one included here, with his photo, "It is easier to prevent bad habits than to break them," leads me to hope this was simply one of Ben's off days. Based on reputation, I expect something a bit more profound. Of course it is easy to rationalize that avoiding bad habits to begin with is preferable. This isn't quite the way human nature seems to work though, now is it?
If we imperfect humans all had the correct amount of common sense and the strength to support that common sense at all times......well, we'd no longer be imperfect. I prefer to deal with reality, as many facts as possible and rational discussion.
I will encourage you to think about the group of people you are most involved with and privy to their personal lives to a fairly accurate point. Is there even one person amongst this group who is totally free from at least a single bad habit?
Who is to say what qualifies as a bad habit, rather than a good one...or even one that remains debatable? If you insist we tear this all apart, it will have to happen another time. Until then, I'll suggest common sense. It works every time. Promise.
WHERE the hell was Ben when we needed him?
Damn. What a bummer. Just to think of the grief, time and struggle we could have been spared,had Benjamin whispered those inspiring words into our naïve ears at the precise moment we picked up that first cigarette, or downed that 3 oz shot of Jack Daniels at our HEY-I'm-finally-LEGAL birthday party? Fact is, had we known that these seemingly innocent activities could easily become repetitive and continued, we just might have thought twice.
A few other geniuses in history, experienced an epiphany. Oft-practiced, finely nurtured habits, have a real possibility of becoming addiction. Yeah, the nasty, vile "A" word.
Relax, we'll not get into the "A" word. I'm in no mood for anything that heavy and because I have such a firm hold on the pulse of my readers, I'm positive you're not into such a depressing topic either. Let me just stay on the subject of personal habits. Thank you.
Again, I refer to habits we acquire that for all intents and purpose, fall into the negative category. Well aware that good healthy habits exist, we can expect to discuss those at another time. If experience has taught us anything, it's safe to say that far more human beings will get on line to brag of their acceptable, healthy and/or productive habits.....and justifiably so.
Speaking of friends, we need to address something important. I'm referring to the quote in the blue square box on this page. The one that reads, "In order to change bad habits.....you must first separate yourself from those who encourage it!!" There was no name attached to this quote, so we can't know who said this, when or under what circumstances.
We can, however, probably know that it doesn't matter who he/she is, because he/she unlikely has many friends at all. How much influence can he/she possibly have? Let's be real, please. If we limit our friends and associates to those super humans, totally void of a bad habit, we should expect to be fairly lonely. As I envision my friends standing in a circle....it's a pretty crooked and twisted circle.....all fibbing aside. You too?
Hey Big Boy, got a light?
I hope you enjoy sharing in this subject because we're just getting warmed up. Now off the top of your judgmental head, list as many annoying, and/or disgusting habits, you can attribute to just the people you love (or really like) but at times, would enjoy nothing better than banging both your fists, on either side of their head, to knock the habit right out of them! I'll go first!
Nail biting, is it just me or is it not grotesque? Can this be excused as a nervous habit? Sure, most of the repeated and unconscious movements we acquire have a genesis in our psyche. All the more reason to take charge and delve into the reasons. Before a habit can be controlled or shed completely, it must be understood.
We may be sharp enough to realize that most people are simply not consciously aware of what they're doing....it's so automatic. We need to also realize that there's a good possibility, we too have these little quirks. Is it time for a rude awakening? Just make a conscientious effort to focus on yourself.....the things you do and say, how you react, inadvertently or otherwise.
Can you perhaps recall a moment in time when someone may have pointed out to you that "there's this little thing that you do with your hands when you're uncomfortable..."? Until this was brought to your attention, I will safely lay odds, you had no idea it was an habitual reaction of yours. One that is obviously noticed by those observing.
The difficult journey begins at that point, when you've decided to take control and be more alert of yourself, particular movements or facial expressions. The toughest fight you may have is one with a habit you want to break. The reality simply is, habits do not die of natural causes. Habits require we kill them.
Don't stop now. You could be on a roll. Suddenly, people you've known for many years are popping into your head, complete with their bad habit in tow. No one has ever made a big deal of their annoying quirks because, well, it isn't polite nor socially acceptable and besides, we know we all have one or two.
Do you speak quite rapidly, seemingly without intervals of breathing? Might you invariably switch in mid-sentence from one dull subject to another, asking and answering your own rhetorical questions? All the while... waving your arms, pointing fingers and flinging your hair forward and back... on and on?..You think this might be an extreme example of habit out-of-control? It is of course. One that was learned and absorbed so instinctively, this could be one issue needing professional attention. Yet, I promise you, it's a habit that can be broken. You have no affliction!
Unless these habits are pointed out to us, we are usually unaware that not only do we do this, but it's annoying to most everyone we interact with and how disappointing is that? Habits are sneaky and elusive pests.
Quitting a NASTY Habit......YUK!
How do we develop habits?
There is no reason nor time enough to give a Psychology Class in Human Behavior 101. If you're truly interested in all that book knowledge and Academics, take some courses, do a little research or just wake up and study people as you waltz through daily life exposing your own personal bad habits.
There's no mystery or magic to learning many of the wonders of the human being, brain included. I only caution you to not begin treating people for their various mental issues without being in possession of the appropriate paper work and pigskin.
We humans pick up habits in literally thousands of ways for hundreds of reasons, known and unknown. We use our senses, yet not often common sense, to see, hear, mimic,soothe, and pacify. You should be quite interested to know that some of our little quirks, movements, sounds, labeled as personal habits, are firmly planted in our DNA. It's a fact. As with so many of our faults, this too can be blamed on our parents, and all those who came before.
This is always such a comfort. Passing the buck is a necessary evil. Think of all the self-hatred it prevents.
Is it a fact that as we might attempt to steer our children away from picking up and/or establishing an unacceptable habit, we are simultaneously exposing our own little quirks quite unbeknownst to us? Of course this is possible. Here again, ask yourself. How often do you see one of your own children make a gesture, react to a particular scenario in the exact same unique and/or strange manner that you witness of your spouse? Imitation? Yes....an auto-response...or habitual response. Same thing.
Must we parents be responsible for everything...or just the bad habits our children happen to mimic? How special. And so must we be continually paranoid? No we mustn't.....but careful to behave responsibly, yes. As in the really bad habits? We know what they are. Can't hide behind a smoke screen, if I may be so evident.
If you happen to be of the generation, "Baby Boomer," you must recall, Do as I say, not as I DO." How our parents got away with that one is something I don't think we should admit to...do you? This no longer works anyway. We know this from our kids.
In the interest of disclosure and honesty, I know I have passed on a so-called bad personal trait habit to my sons. It's blatant as a reflex. I do have a distinct habit of using sarcasm in my interactions with most anyone. Especially when I find a comment or question obviously foolish or needless to mention.
Now, I take my punishment as the sarcasm flows non-stop from my sons...always in humor, a humor we take for granted.
My pals know when I'm using sarcasm. My lips are moving. Habits, they sure die hard...real hard.