Something Familiar

I was driving in my car and heard a very familiar song.  I said I know that song, as I hummed and sang more to it.  Oh yeah, “Careless Whisper”.  That was the George Michael song, but after listening some more, I said, but that’s not George Michael.  With the beauty of Sirius radio, I found out it was Seether.  I said “wow this is very familiar, but it’s not good.” Familiarity doesn’t equal good, it just equals familiar.

A feeling of familiarity is much like an old shirt, it’s comfortable, and  is filled with memories and experiences.  It  doesn’t mean that it looks good or that it is good for me.  People get into and stay in relationships because they are familiar.  They act in a ways that they have experienced before.   A woman that I see gets involved with a married man.  He treats her well and takes care of her.  She knows that he’s married, but the goodness overrides the obvious complication–he’s married! It’s a familiar script, she’s dated married men before, grew up in a family where dad cheated on mom.  It’s very familiar, it’s even predictable, she and I know the outcome.  It won’t be the “disney ending”, it will be the painful ending.  Both of us know that this comfort, familiarity, and safeness, will end in pain. Familiarity is not good, just familiar.

People get into familiar behavioral patterns.  They are scared to take action that would make them better.  They know intellectually what would make them feel better. They also know what would make them healthy,  and what would produce change, but familiarity here breeds stuckness(not contempt).  [It may lead to contempt of myself, but that’s another story. ] A person wants to lose weight.  He knows that he is  obese, which has some potentially dangerous ramifications.  He knows that to lose weight is actually very simple, eat less, drink more water, and exercise.  Does this knowledge lead him to weight loss?  Of course not.  It leads him to feel crappy, beat himself up, and ultimately gain weight.  It’s a familiar pattern.   He’s done it for years and years and years.

 How do we change this familar pattern?  Let’s recognize the obvious–as the AA people say “insanity is defined as repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results”  I first need to accept that my behavior in this context is insane(it doesn’t work).  I then have to decide to take a small risk–get out of my familiarity and comfort and move towards discomfort(the discomfort zone).  If I want to lose weight, I need to make a comittment to: stop a particular food,  stop eating after a certain time, or drink more water. This action will lead to some discomfort. After evaluating this discomfort, I need to look at the data.  What happened?  Did world peace change?  Did I die?  Was the world as we know it effected by this change?  Once the answer to these and other evaluative questions are answered, I then can take a next step towards change. .  Small change leads to bigger change, which leads to more change etc.  It is the exact opposite of the familarity cycle.    In the process of making these small changes, I’m going to need to do something about my fear and anxiety–prayer, meditation, relaxation, exercise, medication, imagery, yoga, self talk, etc will all work to reduce my anxiety. 

If I keep making changes, my new familiarity will be good and healthy.  It won’t be the cover version of an old song.  It will be a new song with new lyrics, a new melody, and one that sounds and feels good.  The music in my head and in my soul is the music of change

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