Guess what? No. It’s not what you might think. Larry and I are fine. Take another guess. Breaking a bad habit is hard to do. In my last post, I talked about my New Year’s resolution to give up cussing. But not six hours after that post, came a whispered foul word under my breath. That’s when I realized, this was going to be hard. So, I decided to start where all good things begin and that’s with awareness. I needed to start paying attention to when I cuss and why.
Around that awareness came the fact that there’s a part of me that actually likes to cuss. I’m ashamed to admit that, but by doing so, I hope to bring out into the light what would prefer to be kept in the dark. There’s a part of me that likes my bad habit. On some level it works for me. It relieves tension. It releases and then dispels the anger. And here’s the ringleader…it feels powerful. These are the reasons I believe this particular habit always comes back to me, even after years of letting it go.
The awareness brought up some other realizations, as well. It made me realize that foul language separates me from others. Larry has learned not to take my words personally, which is good, because they’re rarely directed toward him. But Ace hasn’t figured that out, and he never will. So, my foul habit separates me from my dog, which for me is a precious relationship. And even though Larry knows not to take personally my bad habits, it still comes between us in that it slows down whatever progress could be made in the situation I’m cussing over. Here’s an example. I have just learned that I am not registered for winter quarter at U of W as originally thought. Due to a paper snafu at the university, they’re now telling me that my registration has been put on hold because I haven’t completed all of my immunizations. The same immunizations they told me prior to fall quarter I had completed. This is a very big mess that is not of my making. It’s a mess that’s going to take no work on their part but lots of work on my part to clear up. Larry came home to this mess, and I told my story complete with cuss words. He didn’t take it personally. He knew I wasn’t mad or cussing AT him, but still…the conversation hung between us for part of the evening. How could it not? Therein lies the division.
So, here’s the question. Where’s the power in that? Guess what I learned? There isn’t any. I’m beginning to think this is the case for all bad habits. They promise one thing but in reality, deliver something quite different.
I feel kind of bad at having to be fifty to figure this out, but there it is. Breaking a bad habit is hard to do. In part because it gives us the illusion of working for us in some way, when really, it’s just a counterfeit. So, now, it’s high time I broke up with this bad habit and find the gem that lies behind this fake sense of power. I’m beginning to believe that what I might find will be a real sense of power, where things are taken care of in a way that brings me closer to others instead of separating me from those I love.