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“Could the young but realize how soon they will become mere walking bundles of habits, they would give more heed to their conduct while in the plastic state.” – William James


Old habits die hardI have been ‘me’ my entire life, a ‘me’ that I have accepted as ‘myself’. A part of this ‘me’ is a certain behavioral pattern of moving ineffectively through my reality in certain specific ways as I’ve laid out in the series about the ‘Exhilarating defiance character‘. I have never been the kind of person that latches onto a project and sink my teeth into it and vehemently hold on to it and get it done. Yesterday I heard someone talking in this fashion about themselves, saying similar things like: “that’s just not my kind of thing” and “I’m simply not that kind of person”. It is very similar to something else I heard to day where someone were speaking about the evolution of the human race and how ‘greed’ is apparently ‘part of our nature’ – as though it and we cannot be changed.

“I never could have done what I have done without the habits of punctuality, order, and diligence, without the determination to concentrate myself on one subject at a time.” – Charles Dickens

Over the course of the last couple of months I’ve been looking at this character that I initially called the ‘Exhilarating defiance character‘, but it is not accurate as such and I have yet to clearly define this character’s attributes for myself. Perhaps it is ironically because I still perceive it to be ‘me’ – it is simply ‘who I am’ and ‘who’ I accept myself as. A lot of realizations have come up as I’ve written out the dimensions involved with this character, from desires to thoughts and reactions. However – I’ve yet to crack the ‘code’ in terms of actually stopping this behavioral pattern and once and for all stop – and change myself. I’ve gotten a lot of support through listening to and reading other people’s writings and words. And I’ve also for example see how this behavioral pattern is something that my mother has also played out in her life. But none of this has until now assisted me to actually stop and change. In fact – I have written about this point extensively throughout the years looking at various dimensions of it, never to get to an actual point of pinpointing the core. And what I see is that this is exactly because I’ve accepted this behavioral pattern as ‘who I am’. And in accepting it as ‘who I am’ – I’ve also accepted that it cannot be changed – that I cannot change myself, that I’m stuck with myself and all I can ever do is damage control in the hopes of someday just might getting ‘rid of it’. And what I am seeing is that this is how such destructive behavioral patterns develop. We adopt them in one way or another (through ‘nature and nurture’) from our parents and our environment. And then we start conditioning ourselves into these patterns to a point where we tacitly accept them as ourselves without even noticing that we’re doing it or that this is ‘who’ we accept ourselves as. There are plenty excuses to go around: “It has always been this way” “I can’t help it – its my nature” “I’ve always been like this” “I’m the kind of person that…” “My mother was the same, so I probably got it from her” “I don’t know how to change it” “It’s so difficult/complicated” “I don’t understand it” “I don’t know how I became like this”.

The bottom line is that it is simplistically a conditioned behavioral pattern that one has supported through repetitive participation throughout the years. It is really as simple as that – no magic. There’s a reason old habits die hard and it is because we’ve repeated the same behavior over and over to a point where we simply accept that this is the way it is. It’s an accumulation of a sort of ‘artificial persona’ or ‘body’ that is assembled through physical repetitive behavior in combination with mental stimulation in the form of positive and negative reactive experiences and memories. There isn’t even a conscious recognition that “This is who I am”. Because in many cases, the ‘self’ we accept ourselves as, isn’t someone we would openly admit to be. So instead our acceptance and continued fueling of this ‘persona’ happens through behavioral repetition. And it even happens through us in the mind fighting with this ‘persona’ in for example stating that: “I wish I wasn’t this way.” – Within making that wish we are ironically making a statement of self-acceptance that: “This IS who I am.” And as such we endorse and validate the behavior.

So – what I will be walking here is the point of stopping accepting myself as this particular behavioral pattern. Because I realize that I don’t actually HAVE TO be this way, I don’t have to accept myself AS this behavioral pattern. I realize that I’ve accumulated myself into a way of existing where this behavioral pattern has become a predominant part of ‘who’ I accept myself as – through the extent of my participation in it at a physical level and through the mental attention and focus that I’ve been giving to it. I also realize that if I am to be of any use to myself, to others or to this world – it is imperative that I stop and change this behavior because through it I become less effective than I can be and I actually live forms of behavior that I see is unacceptable in the context of us creating a world that is worth living in. But even if we already lived in a world that was worth living in, a world without abuse and unnecessary suffering – it still wouldn’t be a very cool way to live, because none of it is an actual real expression of myself. It is simply conditioned behavior due to the relationship between the mind and the body as well as through the nature of the mind being geared towards constantly generating energy. So I have asked myself the following question: what are my priorities? Because I cannot for example walk around saying that my priorities is to create a world that is best for all, when I do not in fact live with this as a daily practical priority and direction for my behavior. And this in itself is a significant problem in this world, where we live in the delusion of basing our lives on certain principles while in fact; the very actions we take reveal an entirely different set of values and priorities. So I have to set my priorities straight – not in a philosophical, abstract kind of way, but in a way where my priorities are reflected directly in my actions – in every moment, until this becomes ‘who’ I am and who I accept myself as.

I will continue in the next post…

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