Your relationship with something is more important than the thing. Know that if you try to push out a personality quality you do not like, you are really just driving it deeper within you. Sooner or later, it will emerge again or show up in your health as some form of disease.
This idea of ‘relationship with’ is subtle and not really well addressed in a blog. It requires a conversation. In this blog, I will only give you an idea. Perhaps someday, we will meet in person and we can go into it more deeply. For now, please just stay open to what I say here and if something does not sound right to you, think of your resistance as a question, not a judgment of what I am saying.
1) Imagine you feel that you get angry too often. Of course, self-control in the moment is useful, but it is not the solution. You need to look at your relationship with people and things you get angry with. Do you hold onto the idea that the person is wrong and thereby on some level justify your anger? Consider your relationship with the person. Are you trying to understand the person? Are you judging them with no room for understanding? This will extend to your relationship with everything that makes you angry.
Have you ever thought about how different the world would be if nothing ever made you angry? You will never change the world that much. What is your relationship with the world? That is the issue. Your anger is a result of an unhealthy relationship with the world.
Consider your relationship with yourself. What are you expecting of yourself? What is your relationship with your anger? Really, behavioral health is not about never getting angry. Anger is a normal part of life… Yes, even in the state of enlightenment. Then again, how long does it take you to come back into balance? Do you hold onto resentment and judgment for weeks, months, or even years? Holding onto anger is not a healthy relationship with it. Being intolerant of your anger is also not a healthy relationship with it.
Everything in life is profound… even your relationship with anger. To live better, you must look deeper. Superficial relationships with your life and with the world lead your life astray.
2) Imagine you have a bad habit, like overeating, and you need to lose weight. You could try hard to eat less. After doing that for a while, it feels more and more like torture. Your entire focus can be on eating less and you may have some success, but the torture intensifies. Sooner or later you can no longer tolerate it, and you return to old eating habits and gain the weight back. Statistics prove that most people who lose weight, gain it back.
Another approach is to explore your relationship with food. Overeating, you see, is not about the food. It is about your relationship with food. Food is not the problem. Your relationship with food is the problem. Just notice what, when, and why you overeat. Also, explore other possible relationships with food. Perhaps you can become fascinated with understanding nutrition. Explore different diet approaches. Instead of focusing on your weight, focus on various relationships with food. Become your own expert. Discover what works for you. You may even eventually view food as a gateway to health and feeling great.
Please understand that the best way to heal something is to develop a healthy relationship with it. In other words, the thing changes best by developing a healthy relationship with the thing. If your relationship with a problem concerning yourself or with another person is unhealthy, you only make the problem worse. Also understand that ‘a healthy relationship with’ something does not necessarily mean you like that thing. It may mean that you stay away from that thing. It may, in some cases, even mean that you attack the thing.