What’s your ‘normal’?
Is this even a question you give any thought to? It struck me this morning, as I went around to the passenger side door of my car, to climb across to the driver’s side because that door had inexplicably jammed, this was one of those silly things which had become my normal. Ridiculous but normal.
The door had jammed about a month ago. I keep meaning to book the car into the garage but with how things are at the moment, I haven’t felt it an urgent thing to attend to and so I have just got used to the bizarre practice of climbing over one seat to get to another. Life kinda just takes over doesn’t it? Only it doesn’t just take over – we allow it to; clearly there are far too many things I would rather do than to make a simple phone call to fix a date to take the car in. Yet every time I use the car, it’s far easier for me to clamber across the passenger seat, to the driver’s side. Bonkers.
It’s a bit like my front door. We sanded it down last Autumn then put the primer on and that’s how it’s been since then. Winter was too cold to leave it open for the varnish to dry. Spring came bringing warmer weather and then we were in Lockdown. As that unfurled and online shopping seemed the way forward, when we could order from a well-known DIY retailer, they didn’t have the colour varnish we wanted. Since then, we’ve not bothered to do anything about it. Every day, I walk in and out through that door, roll my eyes at our lack of organisation, motivation and the complete inertia which has set in.
These are petty little things which don’t have any impact on my quality of life, I just find them a bit irksome; possibly you’re reading this right now and it resonates with you… maybe you’ve a fence that needs fixing and next door’s dog will keep running into your garden until you’ve mended the fence; the scratch on your car which when you first found it, looked absolutely terrible but over time, it’s not that bad really is it… So, if you have these little jobs which you’re putting off, what are you perhaps putting off which has a more significant impact on your life?
The trouble with normal…
Perhaps you’re in a less than harmonious relationship where you’re unable to hold a civil conversation. Long term, is this good for either of you? If you have children, is this good modelling for them? But you go through the motions day to day because it’s become habit. Does your job feel like you’re wading through treacle? Nothing ever changes, the management are staid and motivating the staff is not even on their radar. Recent turbulent times have made it even more challenging and it seems harder to look for something else, so it feels so much worse. Perhaps your teenager’s behaviour is less than desirable. You’re starting to feel like they’re the puppet master – pulling the strings in the house by dominating the mood, dictating what’s for dinner or else they’ll throw a strop, not pulling their weight with household chores, and unannounced friends traipsing through at all hours. You feel if you approach them about it, it’ll just cause a row and then there’ll be more tension. So, you stick with what you know and can bear.
Long term, are any of these situations, or similar scenarios, good for us? Unlikely. Your mental wellbeing may well be affected.
Far too quickly, we can get used to a normal which doesn’t serve us well. 95% of our thinking is subconscious and 95% of what we do day-to-day is reactive habit so very often, we turn around and wonder how we got to where we are today. A bit like a routine car journey you take – sometimes you don’t remember passing half the familiar landmarks.
So, how do we change this? It’s about taking control - being much more conscious of the nature of our thinking – the way we’re thinking about what we’re thinking about. Once we stop, take stock and become conscious of what our ‘normal’ is, we can then work out if this is adding to our life or is it day by day, having a negative effect. Over time, this negativity accumulates so it’s being conscious of not allowing it to get to that point.
Through conscious thought, you can make some significant changes resulting in a better quality of life. You don’t need to be radical - such as leaving your partner, walking out of your job or disowning your teenager – even if sometimes you feel like that would solve all your problems! Work out what part you play in the situation and how you can rectify or improve things.
Until you stop and think about the way you think about things, you’ve no idea of the vast improvements you could be making to your life. If you don’t do it, trust me, no one else is going to come and do it for you. Be bold, be brave and most of all, get on with it!
“Your life is the sum result of all the choices you make, both consciously and unconsciously. If you can control the process of choosing, you can take control of all aspects of your life. You can find the freedom that comes from being in charge of yourself.” Robert Foster Bennett
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