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Lather. Rinse. Do Not Repeat.

I came across yesterday’s journal entry just the day before, and of course I had forgotten all about writing it.   And yet, don’t many of the words seem very familiar?  I wrote it nearly a year and a half ago (long before the idea of blogging ever crossed my mind), and lo and behold, it’s one of my resolutions this year.  Following through on my good intentions, on the internal prompts I get to reach out to people, falls under the Being Nice category, that resolution of ill-defined proportions.

As I look through my old journals and pick out pieces from this year or that, I see how consistent I am in my thought processes, my opinions, my desires, and in the things that I want to change about myself.  Perhaps the biggest consistency of all is that I don’t change.  I don’t believe that’s unique to me; I think it’s simply a characteristic of humanity.

To begin with, we don’t always recognize the possibility (probability?) that we need to change.  It’s so easy to criticize other people and so hard to see undesirable characteristics in ourselves.  And when we do recognize the uglier parts of ourselves – the thoughts or actions that repeatedly cause us heartache, discomfort or just minor irritation – they are quickly forgotten.  We behave in ways that we don’t like and we suffer the emotional backlash (hurt, anger, sadness, distress), but life keeps moving forward and we are soon emotionally and mentally past the upset.

Lather.  Rinse.  Repeat.

I’ve long understood that I am who I am, and without putting diligent, targeted effort into changing things about myself, I will continually repeat the same patterns over and over.  This is clearly evident in my journals: write about it; forget about it; write about it again a year later, using much of the same vocabulary, phrasing, tone and emotion.

One of the things that blogging has afforded me is public accountability.  We are, as bloggers, publicizing our thoughts and opinions, our feelings and experiences.  And this year, since I started blogging, has become quite a bit about facilitating change within myself, moving forward in a positive direction.  Posting about it – knowing I will post about it, victory or loss – has helped keep me motivated to trudge on.  I feel as if I’ve stepped off the treadmill and my feet are on the ground for the first time.  And I may actually get somewhere.

I don’t expect that to be the last journal entry in which I chastise myself for not listening to that still small voice, for not reaching out to others, for not walking my faith.  But I hope it’s the beginning of the end.

8 Comments Post a comment
  1. Honestly and beautifully written 🙂 I believe that so long as we try our best each day, fall, pick ourselves up and start over, we will get there someday. And we’ll be better for it because the journey.

    May 3, 2012
    • I agree with you – and having to take the journey makes the results much stronger and sweeter to us, too.

      May 4, 2012
  2. It seems a tired cliche, but every day really is a new beginning. We fall down and get back up a hundred times or more, and then one day we don’t fall.

    May 4, 2012
    • But I like the way you say it! It’s true, you just have to keep getting back up on that horse – hey, another cliche 🙂

      I guess that’s why there are so many of them, is because we need them, huh?

      May 5, 2012
  3. Oh, but I do think we change. Sometimes the changes are so small we aren’t aware of them until many months or years later. Sometimes the change is instantaneous, and we know we’ll never be the same. One step forward, three steps back . . . It’s all part of the journey/adventure.

    May 8, 2012
    • I see what you mean, and I think we can’t help but change some – all of those experiences and encounters must have an effect on us. But even so, there are some things that I have written about in my journals over and over again – truly using such similar language and feeling that it’s hard to believe the entries were written years and years apart. I don’t know that I forget having these feelings so much as I forget having written about it already.

      What is going through my mind now, though, is that many these are large kinds of things. One example that I have repeatedly written about in journals is wishing to be extroverted, for lack of a better description. I have called it many names, but it amounts to that. But the fact is that I am not extroverted; that’s not my personality. I think if I wanted it badly enough, I could practice those behaviors to the point of becoming more outgoing and less self-conscious. And the older I get, the more experience I have, the more comfortable I get with myself and less concerned with how others see me. So, I have changed in small ways over the years, but I am still far from the “new and wild” person that I have sometimes wanted to be.

      It’s the same thing with many of my resolutions – I’ve wanted to be better with money and nutrition, but that’s just not me. Quite frankly, those things take planning and effort – two things that I’m great about at work, but not at all good at in my personal life. So, I am having to put much effort into changing my behaviors. It’s all pretty interesting, really. But I wish it were more like flipping a switch. Less interesting, for sure, but easy. 🙂

      May 8, 2012
      • Oh, I couldn’t agree more about not being able to change certain “big” things, like wanting to be more extroverted. Some things do seem to repeat themselves over and over, and sometimes you think you’ve changed, but it rears its ugly head again when you least expect it. I suppose that’s just part of being human!

        May 8, 2012

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