Being My Own Worst Enemy
Lately, I have been thinking about Aristotle’s quote, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence therefore is not an act, but a habit.” As I have been contemplating this idea and attempting to implement it into my life, I have found myself at a crossroads: Down one path is a new, slightly uncomfortable, and less certain journey. Down the other is a well-established, safe, and familiar route I have always taken. Its crevices and valleys, pains, triggers, and safe zones are all quite known to me.
In attempting to be more aware of the decisions I am making while standing at this crossroads, I have noticed that I feel there are times when this other part of me emerges. This part – which I affectionately refer to as “M.O.W.E.” turns me into my own worst enemy. Triggered by fear, anger, hurt, pain, or sorrow, MOWE goes for the safe, the familiar, what s/he believes will immediately provide comfort and reassurance.
Unfortunately, what “MOWE” does isn’t always in alignment with my higher goals and aspirations. In short, MOWE acts in ways that do not reinforce or create the habits of excellence I am hoping to cultivate in my life. Consequently, after MOWE has moved on, and I am no longer in a triggered state, I experience these lasting periods of shame, guilt, or self-deprecation as I internally berate myself for not having had more “discipline,” more “self-control”, like I “should have had” in order to “control” MOWE and her/his outbreaks.
This observation of my own habits, has me wondering whether you have areas of your own life where you find yourself becoming your own version of “MOWE? Such transformations could occur within your communication patterns with your family, friends, lovers, or coworkers? Perhaps you become MOWE by the tendency to delay the onset of a major project? Or maybe you shift into your MOWE mode whenever you say “No” when you mean to say “Yes” – or vice-a-versa?
Whatever that thing or situation is for you, I would like to invite you to think about how you typically respond when you are triggered, feeling uncomfortable, scared, stressed, or overwhelmed by aspects of life? What patterns of behavior do you typically resort to? Are these patterns helping you move towards that higher image of yourself that you hold? Or are they preventing you from attaining that excellence of habit to which you aspire? And if so, instead of identifying with and becoming your own MOWE, what other ways can you imagine being possible for you to both comfort yourself while still moving in the direction of your highest goals”?
Further questions for consideration:
- Before you transform into your own MOWE, where do you feel this energy in your body?
- What areas of your life do you feel that you could be more of your own champion?
- How can you be more of your own champion right now?
- How can you create/change one simple act to create a more fulfilling future?
- What habits would you like to change when you are scared/overwhelmed?
- When you’re scared and starting out on your new path, repeat to your self: “It’s okay. I can do this. I’m okay. I can do this.”
- What is the idea of oneness behind these acts – for even our worst instances of self-destruction are created as an attempt to protect/promote/care for another aspect of our inner being?
Possible breathing practice from YogaJournal: