There’s this line I’ve been tossing around in my head…
“That’s just how I am.”
The thing people say when they are trying to write off any kind of toxic trait they, or someone else, may have.
“That’s just how they are.”
It’s bothersome. The idea that so many of us dwindle ourselves down to the idea that those unhealthy habits or behaviors are “just who we are”. I’d like to think we are all more than that.
As humans, our growth can be never ending if we allow ourselves to go down that path. We don’t ever have to stop learning or becoming better versions of ourselves.
When you use that phrase to describe a human being, you are sending them down to nothingness…giving them zero room for improvement, and most importantly, enabling the behavior they are exhibiting.
Every single day you have the opportunity to wake up and do something better than you did the day before. Whether it’s making yourself a good breakfast instead of having nothing, or making it a point to smile any time you get the chance.
SO SO SO many of us fall down the rabbit hole of “that’s just how it is”. And we live in that hole day in and day out. We stay down there and seclude ourselves from all the opportunities on the surface.
You don’t have to be born an extrovert to start interacting with more people. You don’t have to be raised in a hard working home to have a work ethic.
You don’t have to be surrounded by professional athletes to take care of your body.
All of those excuses you tell yourself are there, ALWAYS. They will forever be right there on the tip of your tongue. It’s easy to develop that kind of a language with yourself. It’s one of the hardest things you can do to un-learn those habits. But, at the end of the day, all they are is habits, and habits can be changed.
I’ll say, one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself is to learn how to calm down in any given moment and say less. Externally and, even more importantly, internally. The truth of it is, this is a daily practice, and it always will be.
The ability to give yourself space, and to give your most initial thoughts an opportunity to pass you by until the tide settles and the lighter thoughts arrive, is one of the best ways I know to keep some level of a soulful peace within myself.
One of my favorite people in the world, that doesn’t know I exist *yet*, is Elizabeth Gilbert. In her book, Big Magic, she speaks about how humans feel the constant need to have permission. How we feel like we need someone else to tell us what we are doing is okay. And in her book, she’s speaking mostly on creative people and the risks you may be taking to pursue your passion. However, I think what she speaks on goes for all humans in any given scenario.
Give yourself permission to change. Give yourself permission to grow.
You are allowed to give YOURSELF permission. You do not require someone to stand by holding your hand while you work on becoming something better. You can decide to do these things all on your own.
You are capable of executing these things all on your own.
If you have someone you trust to work through your “that’s just how it goes” habit, trust them. Work on stepping through that storm together. Help each other un-learn that terrible lie.
I do want you to know, though, that you do not need them. You can go on that journey alone. And you absolutely do not require their approval or permission to do so.
One thing I want to leave you with is this:
I believe that most aren’t even aware that they have such a toxic language with themselves. I know that I’ve been talking heavily about my own personal language I developed with myself in counseling this last year. And it’s remarkable how much of an impact it has on daily life.
So, assuming you’ve made it this far, let’s pay attention. Start right now. If something happens that you don’t feel so great about, let your initial reaction happen just like it always does. But once that moment passes, instead of immediately going on about your day, I want you to do something you don’t normally do…ask yourself “what if I was more gentle in this moment?”
Take a second and play devils advocate with yourself.
Your boss yells and cusses at you about something that got messed up. You know it’s not your fault but there’s not a whole lot you can do because you need your job. But the yelling and the blaming has you absolutely fuming inside. When your boss leaves you alone, all you wanna do is yell and cuss at them back. And your initial reaction is to text your friend about how much you hate your boss, you hate your job, you hate everything. Everything is stupid. Everything is all going against you and nothing is ever in your favor.
So you feel all of that, right? Okay, now breathe. Type that text out if you want, but take a moment. A breath. Don’t send it. Feel what you have to feel, let it pass. And breathe.
This is a crazy thought, but what if you just summed it all up as, my boss is having a bad day, they aren’t in a good place right now.
That’s it. Take all of those pressures and those negative prophecies away from yourself. And if this happens day by day, you have permission to tell yourself the same exact thing. It’s just a bad day for them, they haven’t figured out how to navigate their inner voice yet. And that is okay.
But, you have started to figure it out. You have realized there’s a new way to be. You have your head sticking out of that hole and you don’t want to fall back down in.
The trick to the trade is understanding that there’s not really anything you can do to completely get rid of those harmful initial reactions you’re going to have, but that what you do in those moments right after is what will be acted out as your lives reality.
Eventually, you’ll realize that there is no such thing in the whole world as “that’s just how I am”. That phrase is a made up excuse to stay stagnant right where you are.
And you want to grow. I know you do.