I am good at explaining away bad choices. Even when I know the likelihood of negative consequences is high I can’t seem to break myself out of the cycle. Over the past month particularly I have become hyper-conscious of poor choices I’m making and, in the short term at least, continue to perpetuate. I feel myself leaning towards making them, I tell myself out loud what is happening, I acknowledge what a better course of action is, but that is where the good thought process ends. At least for a time.
We humans like to think we are in control of our lives. It is difficult to remind ourselves this is true only for a veeeery small proportion of it. An obvious example is the weather. We are not able to control whether it will rain, whether it will snow, or whether it will be gloriously sunny (read: too flippin’ hot). What we have the ability to control is whether we wear appropriate clothing, whether we take an umbrella because where we live can have four seasons in one day, whether we go for a run in the rain instead of telling ourselves, “I’ll do it tomorrow”. For some of us if we did that, tomorrow would never arrive. We can make the excuse that it’s not the right weather for it, but it might rain for a week or more. We would never go for the first run that helps us lean into a healthier lifestyle. Last night was cold, it had rained cats and dogs the whole day, and I had a scratchy throat. I debated telling my soccer team I was unwell and wouldn’t make it to the game. In the end I went along and it was a great time. The rain mostly held off and we managed to come back from 0-2 down to win 3-2. Even with only six players in a seven aside league! The exercise was good, seeing friends was worth it, and I was tired enough afterwards I managed to fall asleep with little issue.
It can be difficult to acknowledge the places in our lives we are causing our self harm. Whether that be physical, mental, social, or spiritual. Little things can add up over time and turn into big things, or help remove the barriers to making even more detrimental poor choices. What these are for each of us will be different, and how our mind encourages us to respond will be different too. If I had not decided to play soccer yesterday I may have found a way to excuse myself from walking to work today, or doing my customary twenty-five press-ups. On the flip-side, I make the decision every night that I will sleep at a better time than the night before. Unfortunately I have struggled to make this decision stick over the past two months. This is a less extreme version of unhealthy behaviour than some choices lead to, but it is not a cycle any of us should fall into. When I do my energy levels reduce slowly over time, my body can’t properly heal itself from intense exercise, and my mind is more susceptible to making poor decisions because I am almost perpetually tired. Thankfully I work in a job where I am allowed to take my time and I have only sparse commitments on the weekend so I can rest. Still, I am committed to sleeping more regular hours to help me enjoy writing and music making for years to come.
Are there things you do that you make excuses for so they seem ok? What plans can you put in place to avoid these types of situations? Who are some people you can ask to be accountable for these decisions?
I am blessed to have wonderful communities around me who reach into my life when they see I’m struggling, and making poor choices. Friends from church, from ultimate frisbee, from my university years, and my family, all offer gentle nudges of kindness. They give without obligation for me to accept any offer of help unless I am in a place to do so. I am not as good at thanking them as I would like to be, so here’s an attempt to salute to all of them:
To my loving family, my caring friends, my faithful church community, my sport-loving compadres, thank you. Thank you for showing kindness, and generosity, often with a cup of tea and a listening ear. Thank you.
You are all loved, dear friends. I pray that you will hold onto this feeling above all others, even when things seem grim. Peace to you, dear readers, and your endeavours to find the best choices you can make. And courage so you can make them.