“Are we going to talk about it?”
“You know…” nodding to the corner “the elephant in the room”
“Yeah what’s up with that?”
“You really want to get into it now?”
(sigh) “Not really”
“Just give it some peanuts then and turn on the tv”
That elephant isn’t going anywhere.
Or maybe there’s a boulder in the middle of your bedroom. You are so used to it you barely even consider it anymore. You know your way around it in the dark so when you have to get up in the middle of the night to get a drink or to pee you just move around it without thought.
Or maybe one day you decided you were sick of it and were finally going to do something about it dammit! So you got a toothpick and started picking away at this giant boulder with that toothpick. You didn’t get anywhere though, and that fleeting moment of satisfaction from charging over there with your feisty attitude and your flimsy piece of wood changed drastically once you realized that toothpick wasn’t moving that boulder anytime soon.
I should just hire someone to haul it out.
Yeah but who?
Even those little hurdles, don’t we just go around them instead of trying to jump over? Ugh, running, and jumping…so much work. I’ll just walk around like it’s not even there.
But it’s there, and the boulder is there and that elephant…well, its not going anywhere either.
We all know ‘the elephant’ is a metaphor for whatever problem is between you and the other person in the room.
That rock is something major you know you need to change but its too daunting a task and you don’t know where to start so you live with it. You don’t change.
And that hurdle may just be something small like asking for a raise but you’d still rather just ignore the rising cost of living than experience the discomfort of having ‘that conversation’ with your boss.
Bitch you got bills to pay!
Suck it up, make a list of all the accomplishments for the past year, or since your last raise and read them over and over until you are confident that you deserve more money for all you do.
I mean you do right?
Unless of course you don’t deserve a raise and then it’s not a hurdle it’s a dream and it won’t come true until you start giving your job your full effort.
You need change in your life. You walk around that boulder saying things like:
I really need to get in better shape. Yet you don’t go to the gym.
I really need to be healthier. Yet you don’t eat well.
I really hate my job. Yet you don’t look for a new one.
I really don’t have any friends. Yet you don’t go out and meet new ones.
These are a bit tougher to solve because they all involve something really challenging, two things really:
Stopping an old habit.
Starting a new one.
They say it only takes 21 days to make a new habit or break an old one.
That’s not that long. In the course of an entire lifetime that’s nothing.
It’s not even a month. Its 3 weeks. Three periods of 7 days.
You are asleep for 8 hours generally speaking of each of those 7 days.
You are at work 8 hours for each of those 7 days.
Lets say 2 hours commuting…
So what are you doing with those other 6 hours a day that you can’t…
Go to the gym for an hour.
Make a new shopping list and go buy some salad stuff.
Clean out your pantry and toss those Cheeto’s and replace with Smartfood.
Make breakfast, lunch and a couple snacks for tomorrow, with practice that can be done at the same time you make a nice piece or chicken with asparagus and brown rice with salsa for flavor (see that I just took the most difficult part of meal prep out of your hands and told you just what to make). Heck make extra and boom there’s lunch for tomorrow. It’s really that easy.
Sunday during laundry boil a dozen eggs. That and a packet of oatmeal and boom there’s breakfast for a few days. Easy.
And since you are eating healthy and you still have 5 more hours in that day, hit the gym at lunch or after work or before work! You’ll feel great all day, trust me.
My point is that starting a new habit can be hard. But it doesn’t have to be. Look no one decides ‘you know what? I’m going to start biting my nails!’. That’s absurd. But if already bite them and you can observe when you bite them, and then change what you are doing when you usually bite them, you can drop that habit.
That was me, in the car, always.
Music would come on, my mind would drift. My hands would be drawn to my mouth like moths to fire. Then I made the shift to listening to audiobooks in the car.
Suddenly I had something I focused on. My mind didn’t drift as I challenged myself with every word to learn something new. Instead of my hands being drawn to my mouth, they went to my phone. At stop lights I’d pause the book and switch to a voice recording app and speak my notes into them. After a week I found myself saying something I hadn’t said in years.
“Oh my god I need to trim my nai…what?! I need to trim my nails?
I need to trim my fucking nails!!!”
Now at the time I wasn’t conscious of how I did it but when the third week came to an end it hit me. I was focused in the car, my mind wasn’t drifting.
Mind you I was still paying attention to the road.
I’d call that a boulder. Not a big one though.
You can’t always chip away at the boulder sometimes you have to bring in the blasting crew.
The thing is, you have to really want that boulder gone. You have to really want to change. That hurdle, boulder or elephant is just going to stay there until you decide you have had eneugh and really commit to change.
There’s that word, it scares even the Marlboro Man. No reflection on your manhood if you like things to stay the same. But if you don’t, your masculinity may just come into question at some point if people think you are less of a man if you can’t commit to changing for the better.
But here’s what we know about most elephant conversations:
I really need to end this relationship. Yet you stay in it building resentment.
That one is the hardest. The most important though, because your life, your time, your emotions, the are all wasting away while you toss that elephant another bucket of peanuts and then change the channel to Wheel of Fortune.
Aside from wasting your love you may need to change for a few more reasons:
You’re health may depend on it.
You’re life may depend on it.
You’re manicure….not significant but lets face it biting your nails is disguisting, stop that shit right now.
But if by some reason you actually like having the elephant in the room. Well my friend you have got much bigger problems.
PsycologyToday.com can help you find a good therapist in your area that takes your insurance so…
Tomorrow on your way to that job that doesn’t pay you enough, surf over and find a pic of a therapist that looks like someone you can talk to.
Tell them what’s wrong, ask them for help.
They are likely to ask you how you can afford to feed that elephant all those peanuts if you don’t think you are making enough money to begin with.
Read that again.
Think about that.