Do you have any habits that you know is not healthy or beneficial but you are helpless to stop them because it reminds you of a period of your life when you are most happy and carefree?
It can be anything, ranging from:
- Spending hours a day watching old movies that remind you of the times when you first watch them- younger days with no care in the world
- Drinking a certain brand of liquor, food or smoking cigarettes because it reminds you of someone that you have spent some very good times with but is now gone from your life
- Spending non working days mostly on bed reliving those ‘happy memories’
- Repeatedly talking about specific old but happy memories for hours on end to anyone who is willing to listen
When you find your health affected by that habit or the long hours in the day that you have spent to relive the happier times, you need to ask yourself some really honest questions:
Am I not happy now?
Why is making me unhappy now?
Is it possible that I can attain that happiness again?
Living in the past robs you of now
It is very easy to go back to days where there is perpetual summer and during the time before worry, responsibilities, loss and disappointments ever exist. You may be convinced that what you had is truly gone and you cannot re-experience those moments anymore.
True, you may not be able to experience those moments with the same person, same place or circumstances, but you can be happy again…..you really can…..only if you are prepared to let go of the past.
It is only when you let go of past baggage that new and better things can come into your life. So if you are not able break any bad habits, honestly access why you are attached to doing that habit again and again even though you know it is damaging to you.
For instance, a teenage who overeats and keep gaining weight may create a continuous cycle of self loathing and negative self image. She may hate herself for seeming being ‘weak willed’ but the cause of overeating may be tied to some deeper inner issues. Food may remind her of some very happy and carefree time in her life- where her family may gather together to feast- and that reminds her of the security and warmth. As she grows up and peer pressure sets in, together with the fact that her parents are heading for a divorce, the pressure may drive her to eat- usually the same type of comfort food that she used to enjoy as a child.
Therefore if she tries to overcome the surface cause, ie weak willed by going on diets after diets, she would probably fail because the seemingly willpower issue is only a symptom, but not the cause. And with each ‘failure’, it would made her hate herself more and form the belief that she was worthless, and nothing she could do could ever succeed- and the downward spiral to self destruction goes on.
The real underlying cause is inner unhappiness that arise from the conditions around her. Conditions that she could not control- her parent’s relationships, school bullies. But what she did not know is that she could control how she choose to respond to that situation- most of the time, she needs external help to enable her to see a different picture compared to the self-blame and negative picture that she seems.
Those issues had to be dealt with- usually through counseling or group support. If not, she may continue to turn to food for comfort. And overeating, stress and depression may lead to future chronic illnesses like diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis (due to weight problem and inactivity), body pain and heart attack.
It is sad that the situation could be avoided if she had seek professional help to deal with the underlying inner issues. But most of the time, the inner issue is not obvious and many people tend to try to cure the outer symptoms. Therefore, please, if you find that you have a habit that you know is wreaking your life, please do something about it before it is too late. Most of the time, the life defining incidents happened before we were old enough to form proper ways of responding positively to them. It’s important to know that we can overcome these limitations.
Once we overcome them, the bad habits will just drop off suddenly- and we would be able to quit it even on cold turkey.