It dawns on me quite often that there’s aspects of my life I’m not happy with. That’s not to say I don’t have a good life, or that I would trade it, but there’s always something we would change if we could. The thing is, we can, we just don’t. So those aspects I see in my life that I’m unhappy with are my own fault.
I lack discipline. It’s something I’ve invested a lot of time and effort into developing, but my baseline is laziness and severe lack of discipline. I don’t like rules. I don’t like authority. I don’t like schedules. I hate being uncomfortable and growth requires discomfort. Discipline requires discomfort. Discipline is doing the things you don’t necessarily want to do, but know you HAVE to do.
My life exists within a self made chamber, just like yours, just like everyone else’s. With every decision we make, we build the walls to that chamber. After all, life is just a series of decisions, one after another. Those walls only get higher, and as they rise, we become more familiar with the foundation. We grow accustomed.
The higher the wall, the harder to switch the bricks in the foundation. The wall collapses, it gets messy; or we dismantle the entire wall, at no small cost to our stamina and will, and I think I’m running out of things to do with this metaphor. Hopefully you get what I’m saying by now.
Bricks are habits, and we build those habits on top of others, reinforcing them. Breaking those foundational habits requires will and discipline, partially because you’re simultaneously breaking the habits you’ve built on it. Chipping away from the top down takes will and discipline because you don’t address the big issue until the end. Either way, you need -you guessed it- will and discipline.
Is your will strong enough to overcome your dissatisfaction? Is your discipline strong enough to keep you moving toward a goal, even when the going is tough? Chances are, not always.
It’s definitely not always for me. I have a severe lack when it comes to my health. I don’t eat right, I don’t work out, and no matter how dissatisfied I am, I can’t seem to jump that hurdle. It’s fucked up, because I know maintaining good health will help me with every other aspect of my life.
If I took care of my health, I would be able to focus better on my other goals. I would sleep better. I would be assuring I live longer for my kids and my wife. My mood would improve, and my body image would be better.
Right now, I get upset when I look in the mirror. I look and think “that’s me.” I look back and think about when I was thinner and in better shape, and realize I took it for granted. The thing is, I didn’t, because even then I saw myself and hated what I saw.
I’m terribly unhappy with how I look. But it’s not actually how I look that I’m unhappy with. I’m unhappy with myself for not exhibiting the will and discipline to overcome this aspect of my life.
I’ve built bricks on top of my foundation of a negative self image that’s rooted in insecurity, and a fear that I’m not good enough, not attractive enough. I constantly reinforce it through actions like shitty eating habits and avoiding exercise like a vampire avoids the sun. It’s another form of self sabotage, which my fucked up brain totally thrives on.
This story is the same for so many people. And not just the health and body image aspect, but the inability to break bad habits through lack of will and discipline. But most people don’t recognize the cause. They don’t see the root, the foundation they’ve built on these habits. It’s hard to wrap your head around other ideas when you’ve become entrenched in what you’ve already built.
How do we possibly overcome all the bullshit we’ve subconsciously told ourselves? Well, first we have to recognize just exactly what it means. It’s not always easy, but I’ll give you a breakdown of my own example.
In my case, poor eating habits are a repercussive habit of my own insecurity about my weight, which goes back to a fear of not being attractive. Not being attractive helps perpetuate a self loathing narrative where I’m rejected by women. Being rejected feeds my depression, which I am very comfortable in, and the depression (once upon a time) fueled my artistic expression.
In essence, I created a structure that put me into a position where I WAS less attractive, so I would be rejected before I even had a chance to be accepted. If I already knew I’d be rejected, I could save my self the trouble and anxiety of flirting and dating and all the other games along the path into relationships. That’s also a reason my relationships have often gone from one right to another, because if I found someone who found me attractive, I would cling on for dear life for as long as possible. Being alone was painful and uncertain, and without someone to validate me, I would sink into deep depression.
And that’s why I eat like shit and don’t exercise. Fucking wild, right?
And that’s the thing. When you continually dig down to understand your bad habits, you’ll find new layers of fears and insecurities. They’re ALWAYS at the root of bad habits. If you can reconcile those fears and insecurities, either by destroying them or making peace with them, you’ll be able to begin building lasting good habits in their place.
It all boils down to the fact that you aren’t actually unhappy with your life, your unhappy with yourself and your unwillingness to do anything about it. So ask yourself. What are you willing to do to make your life exactly what you want?