That thing you do that makes you feel good in the moment, and then doesn’t satisfy. Leaves you stuck. Lonely. Or angry with yourself. That thing you think explains your actions, puts them into a story you’ve told yourself more than once. That story that sounds good until you realize it rings hollow and empty.
Yeah that. How’s it working for you?
We all do and think things that feel good in the moment. Meet some emotional need that maybe we didn’t even know we had. Like me sacrificing my own health so others can go home to their families because “My life died with my husband, so I might as well help them have a life.” All the while ignoring the fact that I was in fact still alive and did have a life. And the only way it would be happy and fulfilling was if I made it so.
Or a friend working like a slave because “No one can do things like I can.” All the while ignoring the fact that if you burn yourself out, you’re no good to anyone.
Or an acquaintance saying, “I’d rather eat what I want and die happy than to live in misery.” All the while ignoring the facts that 1) Healthy food can be good and 2) You might not die. You might be incapacitated and not be able to choose what you eat.
What do these stories, these actions do for us? They meet our emotional needs in the moment. Whether it be for certainty, surprise, connection, or significance, our subconscious mind believes we will benefit in some way from this action. This thought. It happens so fast that our conscious mind isn’t even aware. That’s how we end up doing something that “isn’t something I would do”.
What are we supposed to do? We can’t think about everything. It’s too exhausting. We have to let our instincts do something. In fact, we have to let them do a lot. Otherwise, we wouldn’t breathe. Wouldn’t remember how to walk. Talk. Eat. Listen and watch for danger.
What can you do that’s actually practical? Check in with yourself once in a while during the day. And if you’re a person of faith, with God too. It’s simple, yet profound. Ask yourself this question, “How do I feel right now? What am I noticing?” If you notice that you feel at ease in yourself and with your surroundings, ask yourself “How could I explore this further? Is there more ease to be had?”
If you notice discomfort, ask yourself “What could I do to alleviate this discomfort that I won’t later regret?” Or, “What need am I trying to meet with this behavior, and is there a different way to meet that need?” Or, “Am I trying to replace God with something else?”
An open mind and heart can lead you to all kinds of interesting places that you wouldn’t have gone before. Can help you make the good better. Or stop the broken record and help you find a new groove.
Don’t check out. Check in. And let me know in the comments what happens.