I’m not sure if any of you noticed, but this was the summer of crop tops in Shannyland. For those of you who pushed “Unfollow Shannon” are not friends with me on Facebook or don’t follow my Instagram, let me recap:
You know how people say that we are creatures of habit? I’d like to think that in choosing each weekend summer outfit, I’m just a walking representative of this concept- a concept which takes a huge, yet relatively unacknowledged, role in all of our lives. Consider me a catalyst for thought, one crop top at a time.
Why do we always put our right shoe on first? Why do we park in the same unassigned parking spot every morning? Why do we dry ourselves off after every shower in the exact same way? It’s like a memorized towel dance at this point. I flip it and ruffle it and twist it in strict choreography without even thinking. It’s honestly kind of impressive. Similar to this:
[Watch it! Make the time. It’s worth it.]
The only reason I can come up with for why we are creatures of habit is because if we had to put significant thought into every little detail of our lives, we’d be exhausted. I’m exhausted just deciding what filter to use on Instagram, which bottle of wine to buy, and if I want my soy chai iced or hot. [For those of you who are new to sarcasm, ease up. I’m not that much of a basic betch…though it’s true that September and October are tricky months when it comes to my Starbucks order.] Saving your brain power for necessary decision-making is acceptable, but some habits are worth the effort of breaking- and I don’t just mean picking your nose (ew, you’re gross).
The way we interact with other people is greatly out of habit. Our relational dynamics change from person to person, which is why we turn to some friends when we want a night of laughter, others when we need a good sounding board, and still others when we want to delve into deep conversation. Knowing what to expect from certain personalities and chemistries is only normal, but becomes dangerous when relationships that were once positive dive into a negative spiral.
Most of the time, unhealthy relationships are saved for family and significant others because they are the people to whom we are most attached. And attachment gets really sticky (think- something sticks to something else…aka attachment). We often become overly sensitive to the behaviors of our family and loved ones, resulting in an extreme lack of patience. Perhaps every time your mother calls, you feel like she’s nagging you to do something, so before you even answer the phone, you get in a snappy mood. Even if she’s just calling to remind you that you’re having dinner on Sunday, you bark back with “Ugh, Mom. I know! I’m not irresponsible like you clearly think I am.” Whoa, there, buddy. She just wanted to remind you because she knows you’re busy, plus she’s looking forward to it. Your habit, however, is to react defensively no matter what comes out of her mouth. Something similar might be the case with a significant other. You get so accustomed to constantly bickering that you don’t remember what that person is like outside of the negative bubble where your relationship currently resides. It’s hard to even recall what it was like when you were flirtatious or fun because the habit of having no patience is so ingrained.
So how do we escape these bad habits with people that we love? Because of how the human brain works, we can only replace old habits with new habits. Heard that before? It doesn’t just apply to eating patterns. (Sorry, but I’m never going to replace french fries with a salad. I’m just not.) In relationships that give us grief, we can’t absentmindedly expect things will just magically change without an intentional plan. A new route. New habits. Mentally prepare yourself for the next time your mother calls. Decide that no matter her tone or topic, you are going to make her feel completely loved. Next time your boyfriend acts uninterested in your day, go make a batch of cookies and silently give him one with a smile on your face. Then call up your girlfriend and talk about something going on in her life instead of telling him how insensitive he is. Do these things every single time you want to react negatively until it becomes a habit. I’m not saying to brush issues under the rug, but perhaps 21 days of forming a new habit on your end will surprise the other person and, in turn, their habits will start to change, as well.
Maybe I know nothing (like Jon Snow…GOT fans, I know you love me right now), but I’ll let you know how well this concept works in 21 days. Or maybe I’ll forget and write another Never/Always series 21 days from now, but I still think changing our own habitual negative reactions to other people can only lead to good things.
You may thank my wardrobe full of crop tops for this insight, along with @ashli_p (Insta) for being the reason I went on a crop top shopping spree in June. Visit her blog. It’ll make you giggle a lot and dress better. http://ashliwithaneye.com/2014/06/17/summer-2014-style-crop-top/
By the way, I wrote a post on a similar topic back when my blog was Shannon’s NYC…those die hard readers may remember. (Hi, Dad and Claire Buffie- I think that’s just you guys) Here it is: Expectations