Friday, February 21, 2014


I don't have to define what a habit is. We all know it is something we develop over time. There are the good habits and bad ones. And of course we also know that "old habits die hard".

People become attached to their habits and treasure them as if their habits are their identities.  Without their habits they are nothing.  When in reality those habits might be preventing them from having good relationships, achieve their goals in life or just having a good life.

We all know habits are formed by repetitive tasks. Like taking a shower in the morning or brushing teeth before going to bed. We start cultivating these habits because we think they help with our routine and are good in the long run. We get uncomfortable or feel incomplete when we are unable to do these repetitive tasks. We seem to think that we can't live without them, but in reality we will be just fine.

We have similar feelings for bad habits. We think we are being really unique by being a curmudgeon and grumpy person.  If we are not grumpy then for some reason we are not ourselves.

Just like habits we also become accustomed to the people in our lives. They also become our "habits" in life. We grow up with our parents and siblings so we know their habits, some of which we emulate and for some we do a 180, because we hated that particular habit. Slowly we develop our own personality and habits in life.

Then comes marriage - we are expected to live with a stranger who comes with their own habits and personality. But as time passes we get used to them also. We develop habits to accommodate theirs, and some may miss even those habits which they find irritating, when the person is away.  We become like that frog who is heated slowly in water and does not realize that he is being killed slowly by the rising temperatures.

Some habits are imposed by the society. These make you socially acceptable. To live in the society you have to follow certain rules; if you don't, you become a social pariah. This wonderful society is such that it will do everything to keep you submissive and under control.  It will do nothing to uplift you and make you free and independent. Only we ourselves can convince ourselves to do anything, be it good or bad.  We can live in a bad situation and tell ourselves that being in that situation is the right thing to do. We are afraid to change our habit, our norm and/or break free of culture. This is what the society wants or my family wants so this is what I will do. Everyone does it, so I will also do it.  We convince ourselves of this so much that that we then develop a habit to live in that situation.  However, if that habit is imposed on us (and its not our choice) then that situation will eat us from inside, we will deteriorate in health, happiness and quality of life.

In reality, habits can be changed, situations can be changed. And sometimes we change them without even knowing we have. We change our habits because we want to keep that job or because we want to stay married or keep our friendships and relationships. Sadly sometimes people equate changing ones habits with compromise. Why should it be considered a compromise if one is leading a happier and more satisfied life? So long no one is being taken advantage of, I think changing one's habits (compromise) is a good way to live life.

I believe that we are given life to improve ourselves, live a happy life and try to make everyone around us happy too. If we can't make people around us happy, then at least don't make them miserable. As we go about living our life, we should try to develop habits which
  • free us - not limit us
  • make us have a better personality - not make us unbearable
  • improve us in health and wealth - not deteriorate us
  • make us feel happy - not sad or angry
  • improve our relationships - not isolate us
I just hope that I don't get stuck on any habit that I cannot change for all the reasons above.

So I would urge anyone who reads this to not get stuck on that habit, or person or societal norm that makes you unhappy. Have the confidence and self determination to change, learn to be happy and have a good life. Our failures are remembered only if we become successful from them, otherwise our failure is only ours to bear.