When My Fallback is My Downfall

“That’s just the way I am”. How many times have we heard ourselves or someone else justify behavior with this statement? A more accurate statement might be “I don’t know how to act any differently”. The first proclamation smacks of an acceptance of personal qualities or behavior no matter their efficacy or value. In contrast, the latter assumes responsibility, optimistically creating the possibility for real personal growth (see Are You Worthy of Love).

Change is stressful, even if it’s positive change. To avoid stress, we avoid changing as much as possible. We rely on a fallback, a go-to, autopilot. While it’s great to be able to cruise through life with less stress, as we all know it is unrealistic to attempt to avoid stress altogether (see If Only).

Additionally, it’s important to envision our lives in terms of what we want--not just accepting life the way it is. Tweaking our behavior is a part of attaining that vision. If we want new things, we must act in new ways. Falling back into known behaviors, however ineffective, may be comfortable but does not promote the necessary change that provides for growth. Unless we take up the challenge to react in new ways (see Navigating the Changes of Self During the Recovery Process) and cultivate new behaviors that render different outcomes, our familiar fallback may be our fatal downfall.

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