I was nipping to the shops earlier today in the rain and I caught myself driving like a London driver and responding to other (idiot!) drivers in an unnecessarily vocally aggressive way, out of habit. I pulled up to the traffic lights behind someone who was letting another driver into our queue but due to some confusion it meant that only about three cars got through the shortish light instead of five, which would have included me. So I had to wait.
Before I knew it I’d gone off on one. Talking loudly, I don’t think I was shouting, but complaining out loud nonetheless about the other driver. It was about lunchtime and I was out and about buying my lunch and I was probably hungry but never mind, no excuses. I caught myself badmouthing the driver in front for doing something nice and polite and kind, something I might do on another occasion.
And then I realised too that I had no need to be home any sooner than I was going to be anyway now, since my next client wasn’t until 3 p.m. so what was I making all the fuss about? It was habit, no more, no less. Habit born of years of driving in London as a woman who was busier and more stressed than I am today. I’d intended to get through that light first time, but someone else had other plans. So what? [Shakes head in despair.]
Which set me to wondering how many other things we do on a kneejerk basis and out of a habit which might have made sense in the past, but no longer. So here’s the thing… are we awake or present enough to notice our own behaviour or are we just stuck in a rut?
- What do you catch yourself doing just because you’ve always done it like that?
- How’s that working for you?
- What would be a better choice for now, for today, given how things have changed or how you would prefer them to be for the next chapter in your life?
How we behave is a choice, as is how we think and what we choose to believe. All too often we forget that, as the rutted groove of our habitual thoughts and behaviours becomes increasingly well worn. Time to be more observant and more thoughtful, perhaps?