The other day a client told me: “I have this urge to finish every task. What ever I put on my To Do list, I have to finish it this very day. Even if I’m so tired I feel like falling off my chair the very next moment, I push myself to finish the task. I want to get rid of this! It’s unhealthy and I can’t control it, I can’t stop!”
Last week we talked about how reflexive habits control how we act. This is a good example of such a habit.
And it is also a good example of how we think about habits we do not like – we want to get rid of them, we want to be free of them.
We think of freedom as “Freedom from”. We want to fix situations mostly by getting rid of something, some behaviour or even people.
The key to change and real growth though is to accept and include first the very thing (behavior or person) we want to be changed.
Let me go back to this client of mine: I guided them through some tough inquiry.
- What are all the advantages this behaviour supplies you with?
- What was the establishing situation? When did you learn that finishing a task is not only a good and rewarded behaviour but perhaps even a very necessity?
- What gets satisfied when you’ve finished all tasks? What is the core feeling you try to get through finishing tasks?
Each person has of course their own process. Eventually though all of them reach a state of “Freedom with” – being in peace with what is.
And in this very moment, where we are at peace with what is, we have the choice – do we want to finish the task or do we put it on tomorrow’s agenda? Or a third option opens up that leads to an even better result.