The Universe is Always Working With You: Will You Work With It? | Part 2

The Universe is Always Working With You: Will You Work With It? | Part 2

If you recall from Part 1 of this post (look at the prior post from last week), you have the choice all day, every single day, in how you see yourself, think of yourself, and believe in yourself. This will literally change your molecular structure! And this brings in the law of polarity.  Feelings are neither good nor bad. That would be like saying seasons are objectively good or bad, but the way you see snow can be completely different from another person. For example, snow to a snowboarder it is heaven, but to  a surfer it is hell. When you look inside, and you start to judge your feelings as good or bad, then you are creating a reality of yourself. You are bringing this concept of yourself, with ‘good’ and ‘bad’ aspects, into reality.

Tip: Next time you have a bad thought, instead of judging it as bad, maybe name it ‘interesting’ instead.

Once you focus on the person you want to be and only see yourself as this person, it comes right back to you, and you will become that person. If you look inward and see yourself as beautiful, whole, exceptional, sensational, magnetizing, and if you move through your day participating in behaviours that reflect this state, then you are that person. It is about becoming focused and aligned to what you want. Going back to the law of polarity, I want you to think of the molecules that make up a nonmagnetic piece of metal compared to a magnetic one. The molecules themselves are not what makes one metal magnetic over the other. Instead, it is how the molecules are aligned. I cannot be a political figure since I never resonated with this identity, ever. I cannot be a nature hater because I identify myself as a nature lover. Do you get it? You cannot become someone unless there is some part of you that sees you as this person. Pick one trait you LOVE about yourself and realize that YOU BELIEVE this about yourself with unshakeable conviction. You have never second guessed that part of you. That is the only reason you are ‘that’ – it is because of a belief. Belief comes only with practice, intention,  and repetition. That’s it. The challenge lies in the fact that you need to allow that belief to come in. As much as you might desire your goal, unless you THINK you can get behind that goal, it is not going to happen. When I say get behind it – you need to raise your emotional energy and vibrate at the same frequency of a person who already has your goal you desire. How does that person walk into a room? How does that person hold their head? How do the muscles on their face look? Do they have a slight rise in the corners of their mouth? Do they look relaxed? Are they humorous to those around them? Do they assume the best, or expect the worst? Do they show trust and faith? Or are they judgemental? You will see the shift happening, at first ever so subtle, but then it becomes more consistent and easier. This is where the law of perpetual transmutation of energy comes into effect. This law means that even the smallest actions can result in profound effects. It is like planting a seed and recognizing that it has a gestation period. That recognition allows you to be patient and trusting of the process. Think of it as accessing a muscle that you have never accessed before. It is like ’ Wow, I never knew that muscle was even there’. This analogy simulates expanding your mindset.

And from here, it only gets better. 

You shift faster and faster and it gets easier and easier to change your mindset, which changes your reality. You become more faithful to the process because you notice you ‘feel’ differently. The more you practice, the quicker you achieve your desire – whatever that might be. It takes the same amount of energy to dream big as it does to dream small – so why not dream big? You might be wondering, does this mean if you master vibrating at a higher frequency, then your life will be perfect?

Heck no!

Why? Because of another law of the universe called the law of perpetual motion. You likely have heard of the term “life is a rollercoaster” or “ life has its ups and downs,” and this is true. However, each stage of life, with all its challenges, has many gifts to offer. If you can see the challenges as opportunities, then when they knock on your door you can ask, “ What lesson are you teaching me today?” It is very likely that in the future, you will look back and value the lesson learned. The last two remaining laws are some of the most beautiful. The law of giving and receiving is about balance, maintaining an equilibrium or a level of homeostasis in life.  I see this as being one of the most important laws of the universe in terms of how this law is connected to the most precious gifts – our health. When a symptom arises it is a sign of dis-ease (of mind, body, or soul), which in turn alerts us to take notice. Whether that symptom comes in the form of anxiety, cold, a rash, an auto-immune disease, or whatever,. it is telling us something. The body always wants to return to equilibrium. The law of compensation is the universe’s way of taking care of us, and it would be to our advantage to acknowledge and trust in this law. Basically, it states that we will receive payment for all our service as long as we are open to receiving it. We must stay open and expansive and not closed and tense. Once we become aware of our worth – then we are compensated freely and easily. This can be in the form of love, money, health, joy, and acts of kindness. Realizing your potential ,which includes and believing in and honoring your potential, is very important for this law to manifest in a positive way. Remember, the law will respond similarly to how you feel. If you feel you are worthless and have nothing to contribute to the world, then your results will be reflective of this law. Trust in yourself. Trust in the universe. Believe in yourself. Remember that the Creator has given you a great gift: the ability to choose every single day how to think, feel and believe. Feel from a place as though your desires and dreams have come true. If you do this I am convinced you will move through your day with so much more joy. You will see the world is a lovely place to be living. 
Who a Woman Is and What She Wants

Who a Woman Is and What She Wants

I have had this energy about me for the last several days surrounding who women are meant to represent, what they thrive off of and what they need, want, and desire.

Ironically, as I typed out the title of this random blog post I also google-searched ‘International Women’s Day 2022’ and found out it is tomorrow!! If that isn’t the universe speaking to me, I don’t know what is…

So one might think that being a therapist and being a woman I would know the answers to all of this, but I didn’t, until I really gave it some thought. Let’s just say ‘age and experience’ has provided me with some hard-acquired wisdom. And quite honestly, I feel that most of us women walk around this world not even knowing what our desires are.

We were raised to be proper, pretty, and prim but, most importantly, to be obedient. How often did we hear things like “good girls don’t do that “? We might be told things like ‘follow that gut instinct” and “nothing is more powerful than a woman’s intuition,” but these run counter to a deeper messaging that’s instilled almost from birth: that we should feel guilty about following our own wishes.

There is some truth in a woman’s intuition indeed. We have levels of emotion – a feelings side of us that is like no other. Our physiology compliments this by providing us with a monthly hormonal cycle that is delicate and plays a large role in providing us with the intuition and guidance within us. Although many women see this as a curse, it should be seen as our strength. If we only had more insight towards these hormonal changes cycling through our veins, I think we would be more forgiving towards ourselves. But, as with so many things about female anatomy, our hormonal cycles are woefully understudied.

A woman is powerful, intellectual, incredibly talented and insightful but also has a massive ability to feel and connect. We are feeling creatures and because of this, we often allow others’ words and behaviours to stop us from doing what our heart long for us to do. The emotive part of ourselves is often what stops us before we start. Over the generations, societal pressures played a strong role in the messaging that girls need only to play with dolls and not be confrontational, whilst hearing “boys will be boys”, and thus let them just be.

What we need instead is to honour our needs and not apologize for having these strong desires. We need to begin to listen to our thoughts and not displace them for ‘when we have the time’. We need to sit with the thoughts of not aligning our needs with what is in front of us – our reality. We need to change our reality to fit our desires – by….changing our thoughts we have about our needs. Define what your needs are and then start telling yourself these desires are available to me, but only if I truly believe they are…and YES they are!

“Define what your needs are and then start telling yourself these desires are available to me, but only if I truly believe they are…and YES they are!”

via @luellajonk

You take the thoughts about your desires and wants, and put emotion and feelings behind the thoughts (as if you are already there). In other words, feel as if your desires are already happening and stay with that energy – vibrate in that energy and pratice staying in that state – and your dreams will come true. Work with me – and you will see this for yourself.

I cannot end this post without telling men what women want out of a relationship. Even though I hear men tell me that women are complicated entities, we are no more complicated than they are. We are at the bare minimum in simplicity. We want true connection. We want you to listen to us from the depths of your intellect – not solve our problems for us (unless we ask you to). We want you to honour our feminine energy and step back when we are distracted and distant and move towards us when we feel strong and desirable. We want to know you have our backs no matter what. We want to know that you support all of our heartfelt desires and needs. We want you to applaud our achievements and give us a hug when we fail. We want you to take the time to understand us. We want you to ask us ‘what do you need from me today’? We don’t necessarily need the compliments and flowers, but we might? We need you to be a dedicated dad and we need you to love yourself and honour your own needs.

If any of this has resonated with you – work with me.

To end, I wanted to share a song with you that my 17 year old son shared with me. He asked me ‘ do you know this song mom?’ I answered ‘yes! An oldie but a goody!’ and was delighted to know that he actually listens to music such as this piece. I hope he is able to say these words to his partner someday – I know it will mean a lot to her, and to me as his mother.

Women – be kind to yourselves today and always. Give yourself the grace to take time for yourselves – journal, walk, meditate and breathe.

What Type of Self-Critic Are You?

What Type of Self-Critic Are You?

As a therapist I see a lot of people who are self-critical. Throughout the years I’ve come to identify two types of self critics. There is no literature that I could find describing the two types, so I simply dubbed these types as overt self-critics and covert self-critics.

I will explain the two types and let me know whether these thought patterns seem familiar to you.

Overt Self-Critic: This is what I would describe as the more common form of self-criticism; the self-critic that tells themselves that they are a ‘bad ‘person because they inflicted hurt on another human being. No one enjoys inflicting pain on another person; as humans we are wired for love.

When this type of self-critic perceives that they’ve hurt someone else, they go into an anxious personal space where the only thing they can focus on is how the other person feels. If that other person said something disparaging about the self critic, the self-critic will feel that this statement is true. They do this quietly and possibly subconsciously, not even aware they are doing so at times. I would describe this person as having very low self-esteem and low self-worth. They spiral down. This person may or may not show it outwardly – for example, many of my clients may note a high heart rate (hovering close to 100 bpm) and I would never know it from just looking at their exterior. However, they tell me their anxiety is through the roof. They may have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.

Self-Critic Type 2: These are the self-critics we don’t talk about very much, but they are out there. These people are self-critical because of a belief they have about themselves based in past experiences or trauma. These past experiences could have occurred in childhood or even before birth (the science of epigenetics) or from an experience that took place a week ago. The experiences could be based largely on cultural and/or societal influences. Think about a Black or Indigenous person and how their experience of marginalization might have shaped their lives.

“Many Covert Self-Critics don’t even realize they lack joy in their life. And that, my friends, is a sad state of affairs.”

via @luellajonk

So how can you tell an Overt Self-Critic from Covert Self-Critic? And why does it even matter?

It matters because I feel there are many, many Covert Self-Critics who don’t even realize they lack joy in their life. And that, my friends, is a sad state of affairs.

For the Overt Self-Critic, the anxiety is much more overwhelming. Also, you can often see it in their behaviours daily. For example, this person has a lot of difficulty planning, and quite often they are a people pleaser; they fear what others might think of them and known as Obligers according to Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendency Quiz. They can also be quite critical of others. And since they are insecure, they may be defensive because of an inner fear they have of being seen as wrong. Again, they normally have low self-esteem and low confidence in a global sense.

In reference to the Covert Self-Critic, this person may come off as very confident. They have no problem disappointing someone because they know that their needs are important and more so, they understand that they are of no good to anyone unless they replenish their own bucket before ladling out to others. They take care of their needs and are not bogged down with others’ problems, because they know that in order for them to feel good, they need to keep their energy up. These folks can come out as Upholders on Gretchen Rubin’s Quiz. They tend to be optimistic individuals and crave peace and harmony. They are quick to decide and are often leaders or entrepreneurs. They are very disciplined, quite often to a fault. They do not know what self-care looks likes. If this type is a woman, they are too far on their masculine side.

There is a quiet part of this second type of self-critic that they don’t want anyone to know about, because they see it as a sign of weakness. It might only be 10-20% of their makeup, but when they are in that 20% space, they are ruthless and extremely self-critical. No one has necessarily told them that they failed or are failing in this area, but they are constantly judging themselves on it. They tend to be real thinkers and analyzers. They are often deeply intellectual, but again, to a fault. They don’t give themselves a chance to breathe or to be human sometimes. They find a lot of peace in routine and can be very militant in their behaviours. They take ‘good habit’ formation to its highest level.

Examples of this second type of self-critic could be someone that struggles in interpersonal relationships. Maybe they view themselves as an inadequate mother because they saw their own mother struggle with self-doubt raising her own children. Or maybe they’re a very confident woman that has a terrible relationship with food, looking at each meal as getting a pass or fail score because to her food is is either good or bad, it is never just food that you need to eat because you are hungry. The woman in this second example may appear confident on the outside, and does not care what others think of her, but she is anxious as she prepares to eat or angry at herself later for not eating something she deems unhealthy.

So why am I bringing this to your attention? Because some of you out there are very aware of your anxiousness and the sense of constant self-scrutiny. Yet, there are also many others who don’t see themselves as unhappy, anxious, or stressed…yet if they did some deep reflection and slowed the thoughts, they might have a true realization of what it means to feel joy all – the – time. They have made ‘perfectionism’ so normalized, they are not even aware of it. They are not aware of the amount of adrenaline shooting through their bodies and ‘must not fail’ or ‘be weak’ or ‘do lesser than’ part of them that is on constant high alert because of constantly measuring themselves up to others.

How to get out of this need to succeed? How can we take that pressure off ourselves to always measure up to ________? The answer will be in next week’s post. But to give you a teaser, it is related to tapping into your physical energy. What makes you smile, dance, radiate, stand upright…

Till then, I would like you to gain more awareness of how you feel at any given moment, as you go about your day. Are you too much in your head? Are you catastrophizing something that no one else sees? Are you judging yourself as you engage in normal daily behavior? Or can you just exist and live gregariously? Can you be you and still feel joy?

Stop Telling Yourself Lies

Stop Telling Yourself Lies

The lie I have been telling myself for a long time is, “I love to cook’. Truth be told…

I HATE COOKING.

There you have it. Black and white, dead honest. I have been seemingly torturing myself for years, trying to convince myself I do like to cook. But gosh, it feels so damn freeing to say I hate cooking. I am sorry if you thought my revelation might be more dramatic than this…but more me – it was profound.

On a subconscious level, I want to enjoy cooking. Afterall, I often proclaim ‘food is medicine’. Wholesome food that comes from the earth is so nurturing and I truly believe it can heal a person completely.

But I hate cooking.

The idea of spending two hours of my Sunday doing meal prep sounds as appealing as trying to nail Jell-O to a wall, and just like cooking, the idea of cleaning up the damn Jell-O after attempting the act is even more repulsive. It is not so much the act of cleaning, because I love to clean…it is more of the idea of spending countless hours in the kitchen with little reward. At most I get other family members eating and then running away, sometimes with a thanks, quite often not, and more often with an attitude of, “What is this, Mom?”. Or, ‘Why do you keep making this stuff Mom?’ Okay, maybe the lentil/kale/butternut/quinoa casserole with the crispy tofu and vegan alfredo sauce was a bit of a stretch … but I try so hard! I get on a mission to come up with new recipes because perhaps, in my mind, I will finally find the best recipe: one that is super easy, super tasty, probably hitting all colours of the rainbow (got to get those phytonutrients, nutrient dense, super foods in there) and so on.

“The more we get curious about ourselves with unconditional love, the happier we get.”

via @luellajonk

So, it seems then, there are parts of us that we admire and perhaps proud of, and then there are other parts that we do not particularly care for… Have you ever wondered why? Why don’t you like this characteristic about yourself? After all, there is no one description of the ideal human being, is there? I don’t know who that person would be…do you? Sure, we could all likely describe that ideal person in our mind – but that is YOUR perception of the ideal person and similarly, a perspective of how the world and your environment SHOULD be. This reminds me of what one might be searching for in a soulmate, and I am quite sure that your version is different from mine. So who is right and who is wrong?

The answer is neither because that is just our perspective, our culture and grooming of the mind. That is our belief. I want you to start challenging these beliefs more. Are these truths or lies that you have been telling yourself? If you like this about yourself, then continue to believe it and celebrate and reward yourself. If you don’t, then start being honest and behaving differently to feel differently. A feeling that may bring you more joy in life.

Now, back to the question of why you might not like these character traits? The most likely reason is that your experiences shaped you in believing not to celebrate that trait, characteristic or behaviour. Research in child development has demonstrated self-programming (thoughts, habits and beliefs) are established prior to the age of 7. This is why the Jesuits say, “give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man.” Realize as well, this trait CAN be very culturally based.

That Jesuit quote is the formula/program/protocol for how we think, feel, and behave throughout our lives. Some of it is genetic, but most of it is through learned behaviour. The behaviour was either modelled to us or taught to us in another form, perhaps from the words we heard spoken around us. If I was raised by a tribe of Ugandans, I doubt that I would have an obsession for peanut butter sandwiches, which happened to be a staple in my elementary school lunches. I would also have completely different religious beliefs, fears, needs and desires. My habit formation would be like those of other Ugandans. According to the current society I live in, my behaviours (tendencies and habits) would be viewed as good, bad or neutral.

I’ve tried meal kits. You would think I might embrace them, right? When that box first arrived on my doorstep, I already felt a sense of dread about what might be lurking inside that box (even though I chose the meals – likely in haste). I needed to push myself to open it and when I did, what I found stressed me out even more: colorful recipe cards that described how to make each meal step by step, along with a suggested time frame to complete. This stressed me out even more. What if I didn’t complete it in this time frame, would that count as a failed attempt? What if I wanted to do step 3 before step 1 – then what? I was tempted to bury the box in the backyard to hide all evidence of it, but the food waste guilt would be too much for me. I’m the kind of person who will still eat the leftovers off my children’s plates rather than throwing it in the bin when cleaning up after a meal.

My husband has a completely different relationship to cooking. It baffles me to hear him whistling in the kitchen while preparing a meal. What, I think to myself, are you actually enjoying yourself? How is this possible?

I am always trying to analyze my behaviour – one of the drawbacks of being a therapist, I might add – so I wondered ‘what is it about the act of cooking that I dislike?’ Besides the lack of gratification from my children that is.

I came to realize it might be that I am not a big rule follower, so the whole idea of precise measurement and ‘steps’ does not bode well with my psyche. I discovered this about myself in first year psychology class at university. When the professor spoke of different theories of development or behaviour formation, I always thought to myself, “Just because this old dude from way back suggested this theory doesn’t mean we have to still believe in it, come on people!”. I love a good thought challenge. I also got C+ in that class, which was my lowest mark in post-secondary studies ever. Ha ha!!

It also may be because I don’t like doing acts or behaviours that ‘create disarray’. Just as Gretchen Rubin proclaims, ‘Outer order, inner calm’, so too is my motto. So, organizing, cleaning, tidying, etc. is my jam. Oh, I don’t make jam either, by the way, as you will have likely guessed. I don’t can garden produce and you will never see some sourdough ‘starter’ or something ‘sprouting’ in the corner of my kitchen. I prefer to buy it instead or, if it’s too expensive, do without. Everything I do in the kitchen needs to be very basic, quick, and simple.

The more we get curious about ourselves with unconditional love, the happier we get. However, it is equally important to look at our weaknesses (e.g., cooking) and figure out a solution. Lacking a love for cooking is a weakness, despite what I said about societal pressure. Why? Because cooking food at home is a skill that you do need to teach your children if you want them to succeed in health and wealth. Going out to eat is both costly and unhealthy. Restaurant food will always be loaded with more sugar, salt, fat, and processed seed oils because they need to make a profit and they aren’t going to do it with olive oil and pure maple syrup.

So how do I deal with these conflicting realities? My solution is to first admit this to my family and myself (with no apologies!). I am not going to pretend I am Wonder Woman in the kitchen when I am not. Secondly, I need to compromise. This may include me desperately bargaining/begging my husband and seeing what duties we can swap out. Need me to clean toilets? No problem, happy to do so! Also – when I do cook, I stick to the basics, which means I cook like my mom did. Stop attempting recipes you find in those NYT cooking videos or on the YouTube channel of some social media food goddess.

(That is the other ironic thing, I frick’n love watching cooking videos … what is up with that? Maybe it is me being fascinated with the well-organized and beautiful meals. I feel like a 5-year-old walking into the Magical Kingdom for the first time. Seriously, I feel like Peter Pan in Never-Never land – because to me – this act of cooking is truly Never-Never land.)

What is my idea of a great Sunday? Writing, finding a way to be in nature, cleaning, organizing, learning (usually through podcasts), perhaps grabbing a coffee, perhaps a bit of shopping, spending time with friends, family, etc. You’ll notice cooking isn’t on that list, and I shouldn’t have to apologize for that.. It is NOT me – and that is okay. I realize that the idea of loving to cook it is so culturally fixed in women’s psyche. It is at these times that I think of my own mother and say ‘Wow, how did you do it with 9 kids mom?’ Momentarily I feel incredibly guilty… but then I stop that thought habit and challenge it.

I remind myself that those were different times with different expectations, and honestly, I think my mom feels she is more fortunate than I because that life was a lot less complicated then. I think June Cleaver would agree. It is okay because my life is/was not her life, or any other woman’s life. Yes, culturally we are taught that we as women should embrace cooking food for our families. God knows I admire those women. But I am not one of them. And that is okay.

Intuitively, you may have noticed this post is a continuation of last week’s post on how to bring more joy in your life. I started to write to gain awareness of my thoughts. I realized that the before and after thoughts of preparing a meal put me in a place of dis-ease. I realized that after watching cooking videos, I felt guilty, bad, and useless. All these clues came through by allowing myself to slow down and gather my thoughts. I hope you can do the same this week.

Steps to Bring More Joy in Your Life

Steps to Bring More Joy in Your Life

The formula to bring more joy in your life is super simple. Here it is.

Move away from things that cause you distaste and do more things that bring you joy.

How is that for some mind-blowing insight? As you can see, you don’t need a PhD to figure this out.

So why do we find ourselves lacking joy? My guess is that we are not honest enough with ourselves. What are our likes and dislikes? Again, I ask you … What brings you joy? Sit with that question for a while and then begin writing. The act of writing should bring you closer to authenticity. It certainly has helped me and has helped many of my clients. As a therapist this is one of the biggest pitfalls my clients fall into. Often we find ourselves faking being someone we are not. Perhaps these are the do-it-all women that fake happy marriages or the executives that seemingly have it all together leading their team but end the day with a bottle of booze. What a horrible way to go through life. Honestly, I can’t think of something much worse than this.

Think about it. When we behave in a certain way that causes a pulling away from ourselves, rather than a pushing towards, we are not being our authentic self. This is what I meant by ‘causing a distaste’. You may not even realize how much of a pulling away this is for you. Later on, next week, I am going to tell you how I discovered something about myself that caused me a lot of ‘pulling away’, and I ignored it for years. I was trying to ignore it and push through it, rather than be authentic and face the truth.

I was having a conversation with a potential guest for my podcast (sort of an interview before the recorded interview) and he noted the same. He said that for years… he felt somewhat ashamed for being optimistic. (Can you imagine? Being ashamed that you are positive in nature?) The guest tends to always see ‘the bright side of life’. What some others view as ‘toxic positivity’. Then, one day he woke up and realized ‘I don’t need to apologize for this anymore!’ This is who he is – and no one has the right to call him down for it. It is a strength of his, yet there must have been a belief that had been instilled in him that told him it is not normal or natural or right to always be happy. This could have been caused by a parent who is highly irritable and angry at life, or it could be a ‘friend’ or ‘partner ‘who constantly made him believe it is wrong to feel what you feel. I use quotations because anyone telling you not to be authentic is neither a friend nor partner in life.

Move away from things that cause you distaste and do more things that bring you joy.

via @luellajonk

So, it seems then, there are parts of us that we admire and perhaps proud of, and then there are other parts that we do not particularly care for… Have you ever wondered why? Why don’t you like this characteristic about yourself? After all, there is no one description of the ideal human being, is there? I don’t know who that person would be…do you? Sure, we could all likely describe that ideal person in our mind – but that is YOUR perception of the ideal person and similarly, a perspective of how the world and your environment SHOULD be. This reminds me of what one might be searching for in a soulmate, and I am quite sure that your version is different from mine. So who is right and who is wrong?

The answer is neither because that is just our perspective, our culture and grooming of the mind. That is our belief. I want you to start challenging these beliefs more. Are these truths or lies that you have been telling yourself? If you like this about yourself, then continue to believe it and celebrate and reward yourself. If you don’t, then start being honest and behaving differently to feel differently. A feeling that may bring you more joy in life.

Now, back to the question of why you might not like these character traits? The most likely reason is that your experiences shaped you in believing not to celebrate that trait, characteristic or behaviour. Research in child development has demonstrated self-programming (thoughts, habits and beliefs) are established prior to the age of 7. This is why the Jesuits say, “give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man.” Realize as well, this trait CAN be very culturally based.

That Jesuit quote is the formula/program/protocol for how we think, feel, and behave throughout our lives. Some of it is genetic, but most of it is through learned behaviour. The behaviour was either modelled to us or taught to us in another form, perhaps from the words we heard spoken around us. If I was raised by a tribe of Ugandans, I doubt that I would have an obsession for peanut butter sandwiches, which happened to be a staple in my elementary school lunches. I would also have completely different religious beliefs, fears, needs and desires. My habit formation would be like those of other Ugandans. According to the current society I live in, my behaviours (tendencies and habits) would be viewed as good, bad or neutral.

James Clear, the writer of Atomic Habits, also states similar propositions in his book. He suggests if we really want to study our habits, we should write out our routines and behaviours and then rate good, bad, or neutral. The point being that if we want to get rid of the bad, we need to dissect what reward we are getting by doing a behaviour which is considered bad. He provides all different suggestions as to how to minimize or undo the patterning that was established attached to the behaviour we once felt rewarding (but now somewhat despise). The easiest example that comes to mind is smoking. I haven’t met one smoker who loves the idea of identifying themselves as a smoker, but despite this, continue to smoke. Thus smoking is a great example of a behavior once viewed as desirable and a somewhat sexy behaviour, to now very undesirable due to societal influences. 

There are many many other more subtle examples of what society or your culture (friend culture, family culture, religious or work culture) is telling you what is right and what is wrong, and if we follow someone’s else’s beliefs  we often feel a lack of joy and deserving of punishment. Smoking is a clear example of how societal pressure plus scientific research shifted our way of viewing this behaviour. The use of seatbelts and bicycle helmets are other examples of how society shifted our beliefs towards a behaviour. 

However, there are other practices that we do daily which make us feel unhappy which are not based in science, but we do it largely from cultural and societal pressure. Deep down inside ourselves, we feel pulled to do it – or not do it, but the push against it is so strong. Yet we ignore it. We ignore the fact it will bring us more joy because our experiences have groomed us to believe otherwise. This is what I mean about challenging yourself and STOP doing the behaviours that you believe you SHOULD  be doing – while still being law-abiding citizens. 

I will give you a personal example  regarding my own thoughts – it was a thought that kept pulling me away from my authenticity. It is a thought I need to stop believing and seek forgiveness towards myself for thinking this crazy notion, that is highly culturally based. It came to me in a gobsmacking sort of way. This is the realization I made…

Yes, a cliff-hanger indeed. ☺ Meet you here next week.