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What Personal Prisons Have You Built for Yourself?

01 Nov

By Jeff Smith

Counseling, it is not just for crazy people, but it can keep you from going crazy, at least, that’s how I like to look at it. And it has really helped me to learn to define this exact question and identify the problems and attempt to create solutions.

Now I am not going to turn this into a dear diary post by any means. They are my issues and I have to deal with them, but I can share some tidbits and viewpoints.

Gil mentioned in his blog post yesterday that most people start out the year trying to achieve X, Y, and Z. But there is usually some reason why you don’t get around to doing X, Y, or Z. I also fall into that category. I have been wanting to cut back my drinking, quit smoking, and start exercising, with a few other personal goals added, FOR YEARS. I have been dwelling over this and beating myself up for not doing it for at least 3 years now. I have come close and even made attempts at making these changes, but I quickly lost motivation and comfortably slid back into my old habits like an old pair of jeans (assuming the jeans still fit).

The question that keeps coming to my mind is “Jeff, why the hell do you keep doing this? You know the change is for the better”. Besides the fact that I am an idiot from time to time, I really do not know why I keep doing the things that I don’t want to do and don’t do the things that I do want to do. I do know that it feels like I have built my own personal prison, complete with all of the reasons that Greg Hartle discussed in his guest post a few weeks back.

The answer may not be clear to me at this point, but I have realized one thing. The answer is very complicated, yet it becomes simple.

Try this: List 5 things that you have been wanting to change. They may not have anything to do with each other, then again they may have an obvious correlation. Let’s dig into this a bit. Let’s just take the common changes that most people want to make. Aside from the fact that dieting, not eating fast food anymore, quitting smoking or drinking, working out, changing your crappy job, making a budget to control your spending or lowering your stress level are difficult to undertake, what is the real reason that you don’t do it? They are no harder than anything else that you have to do. Put away the “I’m Lazy” card, just look at all the other things you have done recently!

The first question is will it make you a better person- of course. So why do you NOT want to be a better person? That is the real behind the scenes question. As Gil mentioned, fear is a major part of it, but I don’t think it stops there. Maybe it is as simple as this- Making the changes that you want to make, will not bring you the life that you REALLY want. Let that soak in.

So what is the real problem? Bad relationship with a parent? You are single and have not had a good dating prospect in awhile? Your spouse or significant other would still not be the right person? All those changes are not going to make your career any better? Your ex-whatever is has some of the pieces of your broken heart? Do you not have enough positive social interaction in your life?

I have realized that the reason that I have not made the changes, that I have so strongly desired to make over the past few years, has nothing to do with being lazy or that they are hard. I have conquered plenty of hard things over the past few years. The laundry list of things that I have knocked out, proves to me that I am not lazy (per my counselor!). I have for some reason built my own personal prison based on these things.

But this is not dear diary….

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Posted by on November 1, 2011 in Jeff Smith, Prompts

 

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