Describing Things As They Are Part 8: Learning To Love
Anyone who has indulged in anything starring Sandra Bullock knows the theme of opposites attracting and enemies becoming lovers. This theme has been around since the beginning of time; We see it in Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew and Jane Austen’s Emma. Yet as much as many a film, novel or play would like us to believe it; we aren’t all that likely to fall in love with someone we initially cannot stand. But a new article begs the question; can we learn to fall in love with something we don’t initially feel that special “spark.”
Sure, attraction is necessary to starting any relationship; but how much do we depend on that initial attraction as a sign of lasting love? As an article by Dr. Robert Epstein puts it. “I don’t believe you can fall in love with absolutely anyone, but there are many people around us with whom we could very deliberately create lasting love.” . And I think the same applies to our love for things.
Things as they are
Someone will be disappointed here. My focus won’t be on romantic love. (Because that sh*t is complicated and I will have to learn how to love people first before I start lecturing you on it. ) rather it will be on possession, be it physical or virtual i.e cats, dogs, books or music. If you dislike owning, something, listening to something or doing something, trying to over come that dislike creates friction which means it requires will power. Psychological studies have shown that we only have so much will power throughout the day so if we deplete it our results decrease.
The simple example they used was giving students an exam.
One set of students had a cookie that they could eat at any time, the others had to finish before eating the cookie.
Those that had to wait did statistically worse.
What this means is that if you continue to look at this situation as challenging, or frustrating, or something to over come, sure you can make progress, but you will be depleting your will power reserve around something that you don’t really even want to do.
What I have seen work is reframing the perspective. By changing the perspective slightly you can completely no longer be frustrated by it. I’ll give you two examples.
1. Making the bed
Ok, not something that I enjoy doing, but there have been numerous studies written that very successful people often make their bed. Now when I do it, I just remind myself that I’m starting my day off right. I’m getting a small to-do item done and want to carry that momentum into the day. Plus, coming home after a long day of work and having the bed made, actually is quite nice. So something that was a bit of a chore became a ritual to remind myself to get into a positive mental attitude before heading for the school.
2. Commuting to school
I have commuted to college a total of about 3 years. First by bus (an hour or two each way), and then sometimes by train (an hour each way). What I discovered is that on the bus I got a chance to read. Which I somehow like. There’s no faster way to get things done in life then to read voraciously, because any challenge you face someone has already dealt with, so why not learn from the best how they faced those challenges. When I started driving I…sorry I haven’t started that yet. The long distance commuting wasn’t and isn’t a thing people love but as per my 3 years experience(add that to my CV) I think I have learnt to love it.
I wish I had better examples on weight loss or something better but thats for another day.
Now finding these perspective shifts for particular situations can be challenging, but if you do, you will be significantly less stressed and more confident that you will be able to carry out the results you intended because you aren’t fighting an up-hill battle.
Instead of trying to eliminate the bad, try to find the good.
Out of every five bad things, you can find at least two to three good things.
So, the next time you’re doing something annoying like let’s use the washing dishes example again, you can enjoy it by focusing on something good, like the fact that when you wash dishes you’re cleaning up and you won’t have to wash the dishes in 20 seconds, or how nice the bubbles feel on your hand, or if you do use warm water how great the warm water feels when washing the dishes.
So the point is you need to find the good amongst the bad, and the point to why you are doing something. In a way, finding the positive in the negative is kind of like being very productive in life.
Because by doing so, you are always trying to see what could be made out of any situation, and that is how you learn to love doing things that you really don’t like to do.
Just find the good that could/would come out of it, and then in the end you will find the good that actually can come out of almost any situation you’re in. And if not, you were too busy enjoying it to notice.
Not doing something or going away from somethings might lead you to discover your love for somethings you dislike – Every thing is in some form a ‘stimulant’. A stimulant produces neurochemical reactions in the brain that makes you say, you ‘like’ or ‘hate’ something. If you give up on things which is currently feeding you with those feelings of satisfaction, you might find what’s currently ‘boring’, more interesting. An extreme example of this is drugs, even completely safer ones. Let’s just say you are a daily pot smoker and you hate meeting people. One way to look at this is, you feel so satisfied getting buzzed that you are willing to let go of the ‘happy chemicals’ that is produced when meeting people. If you quit smoking pot for some time, your brain would seek for pleasure else where. Maybe, it would nudge you to catch up with an old friend and share some laughter.
NOTE– I don’t intend to conclude that pot smokers hate meeting people. That’ll be dead wrong. Every individual needs to discover his own strings. You must test and experiment with everything you do, to find the combination that brings you to balance.
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