How Long do You Wait?
Inertia, the tendency to maintain whatever our existing circumstances, activities, behaviors, habits, etc. are, exists in all of our lives. We don’t, in other words, make changes until we absolutely have to regardless of what we know.
I’ve written about this before, and I’m sure I will again, and I usually use the term “contemplation hell.”
In what’s referred to as The Stages of Change model, we all go through a predictable set of stages including: awareness, contemplation, action, maintenance.
With such conditions as smoking, excessive drinking or eating, we all know that we “should” address these life threatening habits “before it’s too late.”
Mostly we don’t and we get stuck in the “contemplation” stage where we think about it, perhaps research possibilities, maybe talk about it, but we act as though this rumination is actually doing something about the issue without ever really taking any action.
For example: I had a colleague for a decade who told me one day that he had been seeing a therapist every week about his depression and anxiety. I asked how long he’d been doing this and he said, “25 years.”
I said, “—–, are you feeling better?”
He said, “No, but my therapist tells me we are about to make a breakthrough.”
“You know that’s never going to happen, don’t you?” I said.
“Yes,” he replied, and we ended the conversation on that note.
Mary Ellen and I have had any number of clients report less extreme examples of this same behavior. Years upon years of weekly sessions with a therapist, counselor, program, whatever with zero resolution.
Why? Because mostly we prefer the illusion that we are doing something to actually doing something. The illusion is reassuring but doesn’t actually require making any effort or facing the ambiguity that real change always entails.
Consider how many people would rather die, or kill others, during this pandemic than make even small changes in their personal habits, routines, and associations. These people aren’t even contemplating – they’re still stuck in denial that life has just made a permanent change for all of us. But rather than practicing and adapting they prefer ignoring and protesting.
Charles Darwin wouldn’t be surprised, though he’d likely be appalled.
So where do you stand on the rumination vs action chart? Based on conversation with many of our colleagues, inertia and denial are winning for most. And you?
No, Thing Aren’t Ever Going to be the Same
If you are waiting for “things” to go back to “normal” it’ll be a long wait. Really, even if Covid19 was eradicated tomorrow, we are really looking at a future where variations on it will arise with increasing frequency. It may have been 100 years since the Spanish Influenza, but it won’t be that long before the Covid’s cousins show up.
That being said, and I’m not being melodramatic, “things” won’t be like they were in the good old days on 2019, or the better old days of 2015. Nope.
Start figuring out how to be pleased with, not just grudgingly accepting of, a world with less air and cruise travel; less dining out; less mass spectator events; and less jam packed social settings.
I must say, none of those losses seem all that big a deal to me.
I see a future with more time for people I actually like and enjoy; more cooking and baking; more reading and writing; more road trips; more jigsaw puzzles; more walks; more independence; and more thinking/learning/doing.
Yes – I have an advantage. I spent 2 decades living that sort of life in rural Alaska and, at least for me, doing stuff and learning stuff and having actual friends beat hell out of being distracted, “entertained” and anesthetized by the media, celebrities, and keeping up with the Kardashians.
I found a few real friends far more interesting than hundreds or thousands of “virtual” friends.
So maybe it’s time to stop “putting in time waiting to die,” whatever your self-medication of choice is, and consider living? What a concept!
Care to talk about it and you own personal opportunities – ones you are, at the moment, unaware of? That’s what we help with. A free call can get you started towards a life lived and not, as Thoreau said, “I did not wish to come to die realizing I had not lived.”
Crisis provides opportunities – this one is yours to use or lose. Take your pick.