Sometimes your brain ain’t your best friend. Self-discipline is really friggin’ hard. Especially when your brain chemicals are gushing full-force telling you to do something that you feel as though you cannot stop doing. I think a sign of strength and maturity is the ability to stop yourself when you feel the most like you cannot. Sometimes this test happens when we are in a lot of pain that we desperately want to get out of, and sometimes it’s simply when we are in the heat of passion or we really want that glazed donut. The secret to everything you wish you could do, or could make yourself do, lies in how you behave in those moments. Do you decide you are powerless or do you decide you are not? Well, the secret to changing a long set trait is being successful just once. Walking the other way, pulling the emergency chord. Listening to a tiny voice inside yourself and changing course when you feel like you can’t.
The enlightenment that I recently had in my own life is this exact realization. People talk about it often and it doesn’t do much to tell another person. “Everything is up to you.” Thanks. Well, I can now see that everything you do is in your power. The key is to get to that realization and be able to access that power when you need it the most. It’s almost like tricking HAL when your whole body is over-ridden. But it’s completely possible, just try as hard as you can to remember to take a new step in the face of this overwhelming chemical urge. You just have to use that emergency chord. Just pull it. Whatever it is – calling a friend, walking the other way, running the other way, having a one-gal dance party. Just remove yourself from that situation and you will slowly regain chemical balance. It actually helps to run or jump or get blood into your brain; maybe hang your head upside down. When my chemicals take over, it’s usually because I want something to medicate myself, or my brain IS medicating myself with endorphins of some kind and they are very overwhelming and or seductive. It’s like we often want to let ourselves be intoxicated, not responsible, not capable. But in the end we really don’t want that for ourselves, we just think we do. It always ends the same way: disappointed regretful “defeat” that was in fact in our power to avoid.
I will summarize my steps again but more simply. When you’re in a place where you’re feeling out of control, listen to that tiny voice that’s screaming in your head to maybe stop and maybe not do this. Then enact your escape plan, no matter how silly and weird it is. Mine is running to downward dog. It’s kind of inconvenient at times, but hey, it works. As my long-time voice of reason put it, “It’s like being in the same room your entire life and realizing there’s been a door behind you the entire time.” Profoundly huge realization.
Stay nice and cozy and hoping you all have a wonderful Sunday.