At the movie theatre, our closing statement after any customer interaction is, “Enjoy your show!”
It’s a habit I quickly picked up. Even when not at the theatre, it slips my tongue after customer interactions at Starbucks. Enjoy your show!
Most customers who are rushing do not notice this odd closing, but some have expressed surprise and puzzlement. Enjoy your show? What am I watching? The creation of my fancy latte? The dull drip of coffee into my cup? This girl is nuts.
Habits die hard. No matter how insignificant they are in your life. No matter how bad or good you perceive them to be.
But it is especially difficult to change a bad habit of blaming oneself into a good habit of accepting what has happened and moving on. I feel perpetually stuck in a vicious cycle of trying to change for the better and falling back into old habits that make me miserable.
It is extremely difficult to change, but it is not impossible. Every time I fall back into my own misery, I get back up and remind myself, It’s okay. You’ve got to enjoy your show! Because just like a movie, our lives have turning points and plot twists.
It has been a few years since I was diagnosed with depression, and even before then, I have been trying to change myself, thinking that things will be better that way. However, I did not accept myself back then, and so changes were even harder to make. I was trying to so hard to be somebody I’m not. I was trying so hard to be somebody that people would like and appreciate. But I never truly appreciated myself for who I am and never understood why I feel the way I do.
When things go wrong, I automatically blame myself for it. It has been hardwired into my brain that whenever I am involved in something that turns sour, it is a failure because of me. It has become a habit for me to turn inwards without properly assessing the situation and analyzing what has happened. And instead of moving forward to fix the problem, I get fixated on my faults.
Through counselling and interacting with good friends, I learned to appreciate myself more. I learned to accept my shortcomings. Thus, it has become easier for me to target the bad habits I truly need to kill. Easier, in relative terms. I still struggle in reaching my goals of personal growth.
I am learning to be more in tune with my emotions, to acknowledge them and address them, rather than to let them take over my life. Or let them upset me even more for being upset at something I shouldn’t be upset over. At the Blu Matter Project Welcome a couple weeks ago, our Yoga Advisor, Jenni-Leigh Girard said:
“Emotions come up for everybody. Don’t be afraid of it. We hold emotion in our body and through yoga, we’ll learn to unlock patterns, developing a relationship with ourselves.”
The more we become in tune with ourselves, the easier it will be to find solutions to our core problems. Understanding why we react a certain way to a specific stimulus will help us figure out another response to it.
Why do I get upset when I get called childish? It’s because I try so hard to be an adult, to be mature, and to be where most 24-year-old people are. I compare myself to others – Look at them, graduated from university/college, getting married, having kids, working on their careers. And here I am, still in undergrad after 7 years, struggling, moping, stressing. And what do I do? I react further in very immature ways, exhibiting childish whims and responses.
I am in control of my life, but I do not currently control my life as I let myself spiral down, wallowing instead of working hard.
But here’s what renowned Canadian financial writer and TV personality Gail Vaz-Oxlade has to say:
“You can have anything you want if you’re willing to do what it takes to create it. . . . Your approach is what will make you successful.”
In the introduction of her book, Debt-Free Forever, Vaz-Oxlade outlines seven steps to change that I have summarized here (bolded and italicized words are directly from her book):
- Analyze your weakness. Knowing your weakness will allow you to change your environment and fight old habits.
- Do one thing at a time. Do not overload yourself with a list of things to change. Nothing will stick if you’re flying in all directions, scrambling to do everything at once.
- Take small steps. As Confucius says,
- Demonstrate stick-to-it-ness. The more you work for it, the farther you’ll go.
- Set milestones. Create a map for where you’re going, and you have to take pleasure from each milestone you pass.
- Accept your mistakes. When learning anything new, mistakes are part of the process. Accept them. Learn from them. Move forward.
- Do your best. It’s the effort that counts. Do whatever you can to make the change a new part of your life. Don’t resort to self-pity.
Vaz-Oxlade continues on to say,
“Through it all, you must be intentional. Each choice you make must be on purpose, not simply a spur-of-the-moment reaction to whatever stimuli has hit your brain. . . . Stop flying by the seat of your pants and start making a plan for how you’re going to change things. . . . Stop whining and start taking responsibility for your past mistakes.”
Like with almost everything, it takes a lot of practice, patience, and perseverance to acquire a new good habit in place of a bad one. Never beat yourself up for falling back to square one after consistently working towards your goal. The second time will be easier. And the third. And the fourth. And the nth. Eventually, we’ll be there. But no matter what, don’t forget to Enjoy your show!