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  • Writer's pictureAnjum Madan

Old Habits Die Hard

Over the past couple of weeks, I have found myself feeling low again. I started to fall back into some old habits. I started being harsh to myself again – feeling irritated at the world and then burying how I was feeling. I have detached myself from most people during the past year (and some even longer) and found myself going quiet around the few people I have still allowed in. I signed up for more things than I should have – and filled my to-do lists as a way to make sure I didn’t have time to process any thoughts – and then found that I couldn’t finish the items on my list because I found it hard to concentrate on any of them – which in turn lead to negative self-talk. In other words, instead of giving myself grace, I set myself up for failure. I watched too much TV in an attempt to make sure I wasn’t alone with my thoughts – and when they woke me up at 3 AM I turned on Netflix on my phone. I stopped taking my Bach Flower Remedies and got allowed the anxiety during meditation to be the reason I stopped.

Now I find myself wondering why I let myself fall into these habits again – especially when I was feeling like I was making progress. I’m trying to use the self-compassion that I have learned over the past few months and the conclusion I have come to is that it is me reverting to old coping mechanisms. Think about a little child. When he was little, my nephew “G” touched an electric fireplace. He burned his hand and cried for a long time. Now, many years later, I am not sure if he remembers the actual event – but I can guarantee you he learned, without a shadow of a doubt, that touching the fireplace was a bad idea.

I am not sure what emotions or events are my version of touching the fireplace, but I think I was getting close to touching my fireplace. And my subconscious was screaming at me that it is not safe to get close to the fireplace. So, as I got closer to those feelings I have been hiding for so long, a part of me feels the need to protect myself. After all, why would you go towards something that you know has hurt you in the past? It is a scary proposition. I believe those protections were put in place for a good reason – but I also believe that they are no longer serving me. I’m not saying that I need to touch the fireplace again – but I do believe that I need to get closer to it – to see if it is still hot.

"The key to change... is to let go of fear."

~ Roseanne Cash

I am digging into my toolbox for an idea of how to get past this. Here are a couple of tools (which we have talked about before) that I am reaching for right now – the permission slip and writing a letter to myself

Do you have suggestions of other tools I can use to get past this roadblock and take another step towards healing? I would love to hear them – please leave a comment!

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