We generally say – “I am xx” and “I am yy” when we describe ourselves. “I am short tempered.” Or, “I am a relaxed person.” The question, then, is how much of these descriptions is what we are versus what we habitually default to?
A close someone recently said – “I am emotional. I have high highs and low lows.” This resonated with me as I had struggled with that for a long time. A quick search for “highs” on this blog points to that trend.
There’s a 2008 post that says “Highs and lows are not necessary” and I ask myself to “play it cool.” There’s a 2014 post that talks about how the highs aren’t all that high. And, there’s a bunch in between that talk about the evolution. Describing myself as emotional and as someone who had high highs and low lows would have been accurate in 2008. But, it hasn’t been accurate for a while now. It was a case of something I habitually defaulted to. And, after a lot of work, that changed.
While there are portions of our behavior that are very hard to change, there are huge portions that can be changed. We’ll need to first want to do it. Then, we’ll need to reflect and catch ourselves behaving that way after the fact. Then, slowly, we’ll hopefully develop awareness as we do it. And, over time, we’ll understand the triggers well enough to prevent it. Change doesn’t happen overnight. But, it is possible.
The first step is to stop describing things as if they are permanent. There is not as much “I am” as we think. And, there’s a lot more that we “habitually default” to than we think as well.
We are more malleable than we give ourselves credit for.