We do instinctive things to feel better.
We do them every day without realizing them, they have become written in our DNA it seems, so deep that we do not even realize the program is running.
It's an oddly blustery day, the clouds are heavy, the wind is piercing, the temperature has dropped 15 degrees in the last 10 minutes and you still have a mile to walk to get to your meeting. You instinctively zip up your jacket, prop up its collar, plunge your hands into your pockets, raise your shoulders and sink your head and core into the body of your warm coat. This is an instinctive program we have learned, it makes us feel better in the moment.
We do instinctive things to feel better. We pull up the sheets on a cold winter night, we reach for another piece of chocolate or another potato chip. But, what about doing instinctive things to BECOME better ? When was the last time you walked away from a conversation and gut checked yourself ? What I mean is, you leave that conversation and right in that moment, check on yourself. Did I not listen as well as I should have ? Did I cut them off in their talking too many times, trying to force my thoughts into the conversation instead of letting them fully express themselves, waiting for that appropriate pause when it was my turn to talk ? Was I edgy and a little rude to them because I was still upset that someone entirely foreign to this conversation earlier in the day "pee'd in my Cherrios" and got my day off on the wrong foot. Did this person I just conversed with deserve that "piss and vinegar" side of me ? Should I have better recognized that they just deserved to be heard, and maybe just needed to be heard, and not needed my advice or thoughts at all ? Gee-wiz, I should have been more in tune with them instead of worrying about the clock and my next appointment and my "2 cents worth". Gosh, I never even asked them about their sick mother.
We do instinctive things to FEEL better but we sometimes, perhaps too often, do not do instinctive things to BECOME better. Leaving the conversation with any of those thoughts above should force a learning opportunity to occur, and from that, when repeatedly and attentively done, will lead to behavioral changes. Better changes. Change is good, but change does not occur unless we are paying attention and trying to force growth in ourselves. We must force ourselves to look AT ourselves, we must force new habits and routines or change does not occur. Our parents tried to teach us these things by saying things like, "hey, that wasn't a nice thing to say to your brother !" That comment is much the same thing, and it is directed as trying to cause the same realization, but it just is not the same thing as if we were to create this "instinctive way to BECOME better" after each blemished encounter on our own. Do not lie to yourself, you know when you sucked and let someone down, own it.
On a cold brisk day, we realize first subconsciously and then consciously, the discomfort of the cold and we zip up our jacket, lift the collar to break the wind, stuff our hands into our pockets, and nuzzle our core into our coat. It feels better. The next time we feel the post shiver of a human interaction, that thing that makes us instinctively feel badly about a part of the interaction, we should do the same things to feel better, and BECOME better. Maybe each time we leave a conversation, ask we should ask ourself "how did i do?". How could I improve on that for the next time. Take the right actions and set in place good behaviors that foster future intuitive positive changes. In time those personal changes should BECOME as instinctive as zipping up our coat.
Because, if we are not working at BECOMING better today, we are no better than yesterday.