Thank you for your comments about last week’s blog, and for letting me know with which tendency you most identify. It’s all so interesting, isn’t it!
On to this week’s offering, all about ego – and just like the word itself, this is a short one. For many people, ego is about being big-headed (“She’s got such a big ego!” when someone is being boastful or pompous). But that’s not the whole story. Ego is present every time we feel any kind of fear, or hear ourselves saying "That's mine!" perhaps when we describe a relationship with someone else, or an area that we work in. But these things can’t be owned. If we detach from things that we might like to think belong to us, we can then get rid of ego and be free from the idea of ownership. If we are truly secure in ourselves (my current favourite phrase) then we can let go of petty ownership and realise there is enough for everyone.
Have you ever wondered why some people find it really easy to stick to plans, resolutions and habits? Or why some people declare they will do more exercise, eat/drink less and generally look after themselves more… and then give up after a few days? This has always puzzled me and I wasn’t quite sure what was so tricky about sticking to a healthy habit (yes, I live a simple, child-free existence!). Then I came across Gretchen Rubin, an author, whose latest research explained it. She writes about people’s habits and came up with the idea that we all fit broadly into four different tendencies. In a nutshell, it distinguishes how people tend to respond to expectations: outer expectations (a deadline, a request from a partner) and inner expectations (write a novel in your free time, keep a New Year’s resolution). Our responses to expectations may sound slightly obscure, but it turns out to be very important.
· Upholders respond readily to outer and inner expectations
· Questioners question all expectations; they’ll meet an expectation if they think it makes sense – essentially, they make all expectations into inner expectations
· Obligers meet outer expectations, but struggle to meet expectations they impose on themselves
· Rebels resist all expectations, outer and inner alike
Knowing all this got me thinking about health-related habits and sticking to them: if, like me, you identify as an Upholder, forming habits and sticking to the plan is not difficult. Turns out Upholders are quite rare, so no wonder I was puzzled by other people’s behaviour. If you fancy finding out a bit more about yourself, have a go at the quiz. Fascinating!
I heard a great phrase recently and it started me thinking about how lots of little things can have a massive impact, particularly on well-being. The phrase was “minding too much” – how we can get just a bit too bothered by very small stuff, often out of habit. Do you mind too much about small things? Once I started to think about this, I realised that there were quite a few things about which I minded a bit too much: cars blocking the Keep Clear part of a road junction near my house, and other people’s noise in general were the main ones (I could go on). This was totally unproductive and a bit toxic: I was starting to expect things to annoy me, and was almost waiting for them to happen to prove that yes, they are annoying. When I heard about minding too much, it really resonated with me.
So there began the questioning of myself: was it really that bad and was I minding too much? Turns out that I was (obviously). Asking myself whether something matters all that much, in the big scheme of things, helps to keep perspective and not get so bothered by small stuff. Of course, some things still bother me, but these are things that really matter to me, so I will keep them on the go – as it’s not about losing passion for things, just about not getting so worked up over things that were actually just old habits that no longer do anything useful.
Hi, I'm Joanna from Clean Well-Being.
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