Negative Habits of Thought
Habits of thought can affect our actions, our relationships, and our results. I became significantly aware of this fact last week. My son is home from college for the summer and is staying at a condo that I own but am no longer using. I had invited him to join me for breakfast and said I would pick him up at the condo.
As I was driving that morning, I was mentally preparing for confrontation. I was sure the place would be a disaster; there would be filthy dishes in the sink, clothes on the floor, food in places where food should never be. I was also sure he would be dressed in clothing that would certainly be inappropriate for breakfast with mom. He is, after all, a college student; and our semi-recent history together has been a series of confrontations as I not-so-patiently await his maturity.
When I got to the condo I had already rehearsed in my mind how I would respond. I would remain calm, be the “coach” not engage in banter…oh, I was determined not to lose my temper. Amazingly when I opened the door, my son was waiting for me dressed neatly in clean pressed jeans and a tee shirt. There were no dirty dishes, no clothes on the floor. The refrigerator was full of healthy foods, and the bed was made. Correctly, the bed was actually made correctly. He greeted me in a warm tone, was genuinely happy to see me and to spend time with me. He was actually, dare I say, mature. I wasn’t totally sure how to respond to this newly found creature inhabiting my son’s body.
As I enjoyed my morning with him, I realized that I almost allowed habit to set the mood. I had gotten used to conflict, so I prepared for conflict. I know better, as a coach I am vigilant about my habits of thought. I am careful of thoughts regarding my profession, my success, and my clients. But, as a parent, I wasn’t being vigilant. Instead, I allowed negative thought patterns to cloud my mind and I very well could have missed the opportunity to see the changes my son was making; very evident changes that were right in front of me.
I had to wonder, was I just as much to blame for the conflict we have recently had as he was? Did I form my opinions without noticing if they were still valid? Was I trapped in a cycle of habit?
How often do you allow your habits of thought to cloud your view? Are the things you are looking at still the same as they used to be? Is it possible you are holding on to conditioning from the past? We fall into patterns of behavior with our co-workers, our bosses, our clients, and our families. We respond in the same ways so frequently that it becomes second nature.
How unfortunate it would be if we allow those habits to block our vision of what could be. How unfortunate to continue to be jaded by past hurts, and not see the new realities that are right in front of us.
Take a few moments this week and consider your relationships. Are you seeing people as they are or as they used to be? Are you responding out of habit or out of reality? I’ll bet you’ll be surprised. I know I was.