Justification is a Beast
We have an interesting relationship with justification, it plays a key role in most peoples lives, it is that little beast that often lets us get away with so much, helping us to excuse our habits.
How often have we told ourselves something is "too hard" I often see this one applied to quitting smoking, but this can also be applied to stopping most habits. We tend to create really elaborate stories about how hard something is when really its not hard at all, its just uncomfortable and we as humans will evade discomfort at all costs. Often at too much cost when it comes to our bad habits. Unfortunately society as a whole has come to support these justifications, and even groups like AA reinforce this detrimental thinking, and with this you will also find the soft bigotry of low expectation, usually I apply this term to the political arena but it seems to work well in this regard to. When we have low expectations of ourselves we tend to get away with a lot more bullshit in our lives.
How do we change this? I think a lot of what it comes down to is figuring out the intent we hold for ourselves. If you begin asking yourself on the daily what your intention is with most of your daily habits and practices you can begin to become more aware of where you stand in regards to looking out for yourself. I think this is also seen reflected in our relationships and the expectations we hold for others in our lives. Do you hold those near and dear to you at a high expectation? Do you look around your life and see friends and family that are making an effort to grow and develop?
A good friend of mine often would remind me when I was being hard on myself that "I was doing my best" This stuck with me in my mind, and I really got what she was doing in making this statement, she was setting an expectation for me that I was in fact doing my best, and in turn I think this helped me to shape a higher expectation of myself. Because face it if we are not doing our best then we are probably doing our worst. This life takes effort, whether that be work, relationships, study, quitting habits...effort is what it takes.
I think the practice of viewing our intentions on the daily helps to instill positive effort in our lives. As we start to change the conversation in our heads and hold ourselves to a higher expectation and in fact begin to do our best, things start to fall in to place, even at times feeling effortless. Effort really does make for effortless growth, it just takes a little time to teach our brains the new story.
Best regards and highest expectations,