I walk into my apartment, straight past the kitchen, go directly into my room, close the door and take my shoes off. Next, I head to the bathroom and my shirt comes off. Then I chill and scroll for the next 20 to 30 minutes before I finally get up, step over my shirt, put on my pajamas and climb into bed. Here, I scroll for another 30 minutes or so before I get up to turn off the light, plug my phone up, and grab my kindle and read until I fall asleep. This is my nightly routine. I can tell you exactly what’s going to happen every time I come home from work because this is what I do. I’m thinking about those Pajamas right now! It’s sad the way I feel about my bed and my pajamas. It’s habitual that I come home and the first thing I MUST do is take my shoes off. Shoes give me the itchies. It is also a habit for me to leave those clothes right where I took them off. That drives my family INSANE! I know some of you are cringing but I DO NOT CARE!
Eventually, I pick those items up and put them in the hamper. Immediately, doing that would throw my whole life into a frenzy. I wouldn’t be able to sleep. I wouldn’t be able to live knowing that I put my shirt in the hamper before morning. It’s just… it’s just not natural for me. That would be one of the hardest habits to break if I truly had to. If my life depended on me putting my clothes in the hamper, I’d probably be dead. Y’all I just can’t see myself being organized and, dare I say it, neat. I feel you judging me and my life. I feel it in my soul. You probably sound just like my mama. “Girl, clean your room!” I’m going to tell you what I tell her all the time, “My room is clean enough for me!” I’m sure you have some habits I would find cringe-worthy. You probably leave your lashes on the bathroom sink. Don’t judge me for my habits.
Habits are really hard to break especially when they’ve become routine for us and we forget we are even doing it, like popping gum. Some people don’t even realize they are popping their gum because it’s a habit for them to just pop it. They’ve become immune to the loud and obnoxious noise they are creating. It’s the same way with our habits, but the habits I’m referring to are not the habits of leaving clothes outside of the hamper or popping gum. No, I’m talking about those habits we have that are detrimental to other people and ourselves.
Have you ever met someone who has a habit of always being the victim? No matter the season, state, country, or time, it’s never their fault but always the people around them. It’s those kinds of habits we need to seek to break. Those people are habitual victims. They say things like, “Oh I’m fat because Johnny gave me three cookies with every meal.” No, you are fat because you ate three cookies with every meal. It’s time to take responsibilities for your own actions. Own up to your grown-up decisions. Accept those consequences because the people around you are tired of hearing you be a victim. They are tired of hearing you complain, complain, whine and complain. (Steps off soapbox)
One year for Lent, I gave up complaining. I wanted to kick the habit of complaining because I realized that I complained a lot. I complained about the toilet tissue I used. I complained about my job. I complained about the house being too cold. I was an old grouchy lady and I was only in my early twenties. You could have put a robe and fuzzy slippers on me and I’d supply my own walking cane. I was that far gone. My knees, my back, my neck, my life, it all deserved a hearty complaint at least once a day. The only thing I didn’t complain about was my consumption of sleep, which is what made my back and my neck hurt.
On this complaint free journey, I realized just how much I actually complained a day. The numbers were staggering. I complained so much that I didn’t know a compliment when I heard one because I had psyched myself up to be this terrible person, unworthy of anything nice. My complaining was ruining my own self-confidence, now that I really think about it. I was too fat to date. I told myself that I would lose 20 pounds then I would start dating but not before because who would want to be with someone like me. Well, I never lost that 20 pounds. As a matter of fact, I actually gained 20 pounds. I definitely wasn’t dating then. Now with an extra 20 pounds, none of my clothes fit. There was something else to complain about.
I was a consumer of all things clothing at one point in my life. I loved the way clothes made me feel. Looking in my closet and seeing the pretty dresses that fit me like a glove or my favorite cardigan that made me look so studious and feel sexy. I started to lose the comfort of those clothes. I started to feel like someone had tied a string around a marshmallow. I was tormenting myself for not looking like society’s standard of a woman. I won’t even mention the urban standards for Black women because then I’d be all sad again.
Complaining had led me down a road that I was too comfortable with traveling. My habitual complaining was the best thing to come into my life because I knew I could count on me to be down on me before anyone else had the chance. I knew my complaining was giving me shelter in my shell that I love so much. That’s a really bad habit to have. During Lent, I gave up complaining. I started accepting compliments and I watched me blossom. Now that’s not to say I not still sarcastic, cynical, petty, and all sorts of things that make me, me. I will say this I’m funny and I don’t care what none of y’all think. Oh, I forgot to mention my complaint-free Lent gave me confidence. It’s amazing at how breaking one bad habit can change who you are as a person. It can change your perspective on plenty of things. You don’t have to wait for Lent though. What habit do you have that you want to change?
I want to hear about them. Tell me in the comments below. Let’s change together.
SN: whoever came up with the adage, “I’ll break you like a bad habit” must have had the confidence and ambition of a Greek god because bad habits are easy to form and hard to break.