We, as humans, seek to understand our life. Not always, but most of the time. We have this desire to make sense of what is happening to us or around us. Sometimes, understanding doesn’t come easily, especially when the focus of our enquiry is what we consider to be outside of us. We might want to understand how certain things work, or how decisions are made. Most often, when we try to understand something, we do it in a pretty logical way, based on steps and consequences. This works well with objects, but not as well with people.
One of the most common struggles of understanding is when it comes to our toxic habits.
Why do we have them? Why can we not change them? Why do we continue like this even when we know it is toxic? Why do we lack the power to change ourselves?
Answering these questions can be even harder if we are enquiring about other people, since we don’t know what they are thinking or feeling. Understanding, in such cases, seems impossible.
So why do people stick to toxic habits, even when they are completely aware of them?
Lets start by asking a different question: What exactly are we aware of when we say we are aware of our toxic needs?
We can be aware of the pain we feel, we can be aware of some previous accidents, we can be aware of the culture and what other people think about this topic. We can even be aware of our previous attempts to stop. If we go deeper, we can even realize the causes of our toxic habits.
And yet, this seems to not be enough. We are still stuck with them. Why?
Can we, maybe as an exercise, stop for a moment and not see our needs as toxic, but rather as a weird way of solving certain problems?
If we do this, then the next question would be: What kind of problems are we trying to solve?
What kind of problems would require such solutions that also destroy ourselves in the process?
While we are enquiry into this, there is something else happening in the background. We have assumptions about what solutions someone has available, assumptions that we hardly see.
And there is something else that is also happening. There is a negative attitude towards the whole situation. We want to avoid it, so solve it, to get rid of it. This attitude towards the problem is actually part of the problem we are trying to solve. Can we see this?
Can we bring a new perspective, one that will generate a new kind of energy, an energy that is able to move us beyond our current needs and struggles?
Lets start our enquiry from this point forward!
Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.
— Albert Einstein