In our chapter entitled “Application”, we discussed the dangers of both our habits and our appetites.
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Habits and Appetites
One of the great pitfalls in our pursuit of change is our desires. While we can identify our issues, our what, and our why, we will eventually have to come to grips with our desires. That part of us that craves those things that we now realize are a detriment to us. We must reconcile our attraction to the things that threatened to destroy us if we didn’t do anything about them. Sometimes, our greatest enemy isn’t just what’s flowing inside of us. It’s the fact that we so badly desire what’s flowing inside of us.
The fact of the matter is you and I are creatures of habit and appetite. Not only are we what we repeatedly do, as stated before, but we often have an appetite for the things that we repeatedly do. Our palate has been cultivated to crave the very things that have pulled us below what we were actually created to be. Some of the very things that we could never see ourselves doing have become very much a part of who we are because we’ve now developed a taste, a tolerance, and/or a weakness for them. What was once just a moment has now become a truth.
The reason that many of us can’t agree to change is because it will require us to change our taste buds. Our metaphorical tongues have been conditioned to take certain things into our spirits and we’re just not ready to give it up and try something new. We’ve not only decided that we like what we like and that’s how life should be lived, but we’ve even convinced ourselves that we could give up our habits and change our appetites whenever we get ready, without much difficulty at all. We’ve convinced ourselves that we’re operating on choice and that we’re not necessarily slaves to our desires. Again, change isn’t running from us. We just won’t agree.
We see here that justification isn’t just reserved for the drug addict that isn’t ready to quit or for people in bad relationships that just won’t leave. Justification also exists in those of us that refuse to see our bad habits for what they are: Bad habits! Justification is for those of us that know we have unhealthy appetites and we won’t try something new and better because “You only live once”, and we like it, so it’s just fine.
While we can seek and search to find many excuses for why we do what we do, the fact remains that many of us do what we do because we just like it, and because we are in fact habitual creatures. If we really examined these issues, in many cases, we’d find no spiritual benefit to what we do. It’s just what we want, and what we want isn’t always good for us, even though it may feel good to us.
We’ve developed certain ways and we’ve become comfortable with who and where we are. We’ve even gone so far as to suggest that we hold on to such things in an effort to protect our peace. However, if something is to your detriment, your peace has already been disturbed. You’ve just adapted to the chaos.
Our struggle to agree to change is in our resistance to upset our current way of life, a way of life that we have grown comfortable in. Many of us wouldn’t change our physical diets without a doctor’s orders, and even then, we’d question the doctor’s credentials if they said something we didn’t like. Our habits and appetites are at the core of who we are and that’s why it’s so difficult to let go and change. We like the taste. We like what we do. We like who we are, even if who we are can be dark and self-destructive at times. But anything learned can be unlearned and appetites can be changed.
Once we come to the realization that we must be different, we must be on guard concerning our habits and appetites. These are two of the most difficult chains to break, and therefore, these things have a great propensity for reoccurrence. It’s one thing to break free from outside forces, but something entirely different when you’re running from inside forces. It’s those habits and appetites that will often rebel and fight back when we’re trying to break free and go forward.
For this cause, as we change, we must avoid some of the people, places, and things that trigger our weaknesses and vices. We can change our old habits by putting new practices into place. We can change our palates by exposing ourselves to new experiences and new tastes. We are what we repeatedly do and we are what we repeatedly take in, but it’s not as if we have no choice. We can change by doing something different and receiving something new. It all starts in the mind. We must begin with the choice.