Being good is hard. It doesn’t matter how old you are there is always temptation lurking. One seemingly innocent temptation leads to an other less innocent one which leads to an even less innocent one and so on. We can have an impact on temptation by being weary of the so-called innocent temptations since they are the easiest to say no to, but the problem is they are the hardest to recognize.
For the child it might be sneaking a cookie before supper. If this is done successfully it may make them feel brave enough to try sneaking money out of mom’s purse. If this is done successfully it may make them feel brave enough to try….?
For a teen or an adult a little innocent flirting with someone they shouldn’t can easily lead to more suggestive conversations and it’s no secret where that can lead.
I don’t think people want to do bad things or make the wrong choices. Nobody wakes up in the morning and decides today is the day they’ll try their first drug, become a prostitute or have an affair. A bunch of tiny little choices leads up to those kinds of decisions. Collectively, those tiny little choices place us in positions where we are forced to choose between turning a trick and something that sounds a lot worse.
I don’t declare a day to be a bad one.
“Here this! Today is going to be a bad day for me. All you selfish, grumpy, controlling people gather around and do your stuff. All the pleasant people should go home and take a nap. I wont be acknowledging your presence today. That is all. Thank you.”
Yet I allow them to happen. The aggravating co-worker draws a glare or snide comment out of me. I let the inconsiderate driver make me yell obscenities. The shopper that is totally unaware of anyone else in the world but them and the product they are after destroys my mood. I know better than to let this happen and yet it happens.
It usually starts with a nagging, negative thought that I can’t get out of my head – a memory of a mean comment or a situation that I can’t solve. Once I let these thoughts take over, I’m already defeated before anyone else even has a chance to attack. My patients becomes the tablet you toss in the fishbowl when your going on vacation. All the hungry fish take bites out of me until my patients totally dissolves. I try to be aware of it when this happens and turn my attitude around before it’s taken out on some undeserving soul. There are times that the best I can do is to just remove myself from everyone for awhile. It’s important to not allow this way of being to become a way of life.
No matter how far down the wrong path we have allowed ourselves to go, we must give ourselves permission to turn around. This takes a tremendous amount of courage because usually other people are involved. These people expect us to behave in certain ways. When we start acting in new ways some of them will start putting pressure on us. They demand to know where all the changes came from and why. We’re afraid they will be hurt or we will loose them if we change any further. So we balance between the hurt that our behavior causes us and the hurt that may be caused if we change. Bad move. Become the best you can be and never cease becoming. Anyone that holds you back, isn’t worth holding on to – let them leave.
Others may be skeptical of the sincerity of our adjustments and wait for us to fail. We are so afraid to prove them right, that we remain frozen. We think a failed attempt will make our goal even more impossible. Truthfully, every failure can bring us closer to perfection if we allow it. People who struggle and succeed are much more robust than those who just succeed.
Making changes is hard even without outside pressure. It requires going against the grain of who we’ve become. It requires being open to criticism from ourselves. Sometimes we have spent so much time sleep walking through life that we wake up one day not knowing who we’ve become. Staying awake and being in control of our lives instead of allowing life to be something that happens to us takes practice. It is so easy to fall back into the same old rut because the hours of digging out makes us weary. We make excuses for giving up, ‘I’ve survived this long living this way there’s no point in changing now’.
Once we commit to change, we have to understand that it isn’t going to happen overnight. It takes drastic changes inside before they are evident on the outside. We must expect to fall down occasionally and forgive ourselves when it happens. No matter how hard we try, we are always going to end up doing something that we don’t want to do. The important this is to learn how to recover from those moments of weakness and not allow those moments to become habits.
What is it that you do, that you don’t want to?