A friend of mine wants to learn to cook. Right now, she doesn’t cook at all – she’s gotten by just fine without it, but in this new season of her life, she feels like it’s time. The problem is really with why she feels like she can’t cook. She’s totally overwhelmed at where to even begin: what should she learn first? Should she memorize recipes? Learn techniques? Become familiar with common spices?
In addition to being totally overwhelmed with how to begin, my friend is prone to perfectionism. She’s highly detail-oriented, too, so the thought of not following a recipe perfectly, of not cutting the carrots into perfectly even segments, of just getting things wrong, is holding her back.
If you’re reading this, you’re the recipient of someone else’s creative gift.
Somebody, somewhere, decided to come up with a written alphabet. Somebody, somewhere, taught me to write it and you to read it. Somebody, somewhere, got really into numbers and came up with a system for language comprised of 1s and 0s and somebody else somewhere else made it pop up on a screen as the written alphabet. While they were designing the tech, someone made them dinner and washed their socks. Someone else constructed the buildings where they worked. All of these people lived in different centuries and on different continents and probably never imagined the full effects of their efforts. They certainly couldn’t have known that I would be writing this and you would be reading it.
That is just one tiny sliver of insight into how much we benefit from the gifts of others. Spend a day just trying to think of all the people throughout the centuries and in your own life who worked so that you could be where you are, doing what you’re doing, right now. I guarantee you can’t help but be overwhelmed with gratitude.
People using theircreative gifts is essential to the flourishing of others.
You using your creative gifts is also essential to your flourishing.
Do you ever find yourself making the same mistakes over and over? Or getting stressed about the same sorts of things, time and again? It’s hard to learn what we want to change if we aren’t in the habit of reflecting on our lives – but even if we are, we need to have the courage and clarity to get rid of bad habits.
Just getting rid of a bad habit out of the blue, on our own, isn’t easy: but it certainly can be easier if we take practical steps to remove some of the factors around why we keep making the same mistakes. (And by “mistakes” I don’t only mean morally bad decisions, but also behaviors that leave us feeling exhausted, stressed, or unhappy because they don’t serve the major priorities we’ve set for our lives.)
Here are 5 practical steps to help you get rid of bad habits, with clear examples of how to follow them easily.
(“Why am I Always So Tired?” – How Discerning the Cost of Anything is Essential to Living Well, Part IV)
This is part IV of a series looking at how discerning the non-monetary cost of things in our lives can help us figure out why we’re so tired – and how we can live better. Read Parts I, II, and III.
Emotional expenditure is probably the trickiest of life-costs to consider. We know how to track our time, and we have physical indicators of how much energy we have (or lack): but how do we measure emotional expenditure?
Thankfully, (because as humans we are body-soul unities and not brains in jars) our emotions, while not physical in themselves, do have real physical effects. Just think of tears. We feel the emotion of sadness or joy and our eyes suddenly release salt water. Of course, some people’s bodies seem to process emotion more closely than others’ – and even the most highly sensitive people can be unaware of the cost of their emotional life.
What’s to be done? The first step, as with any life-cost, is becoming more aware of the affects of our own actions and that of other’s actions around us. We have to know ourselves well to know what affects us emotionally, and how we process and spend our emotions.
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