People are not only stingy with their money; they are stingy with their love. And as surprising as this may seem, people are stingy with love for themselves! While there is debate about how many days it takes for a person to make a change in behavior, physician Christiane Northrup recommends that you practice an affirmation for 21 straight days to jump-start a change. And she recommends sweet-talk: “…beloved, please change me into someone who loves myself fully.”
Your words will take a different tone but edit your words if you find you are swearing at yourself! It depends upon each person, but research on health-related changes found that it took an average of 66 days to set a new habit; some individuals needed more days! If your chosen behavior change is linked to some passion, you have a better chance for success. Also, when in the midst of a pandemic, you may find that you have new changes in how you view time.
Unfolding habitual thinking and behavior is challenging because it takes time. Remember, it takes a pearl time to fully form. You can change parts of your personality that you know you can no longer live with easily. Novelist James Baldwin observed: “Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without but that we know we cannot live within.”
The pandemic has unmasked certain behaviors in us while also requiring that we physically mask up to be with other people, especially in any interior spaces. In my survey of retired and semi-retired folks about how they coped with the pandemic, there was a range of responses. Here is how one 71-year-old man (retired 7 years and currently volunteering 8 hours each week) responded to my question about how he spent time in 2020-2021: “I actually had more contact with out-of-town relatives since I started using Zoom…I learned that I can still adapt at age 71!”
Greek philosopher Aristotle is attributed with this action line-up: “All human actions have one or more of these 7 causes: chance, nature, compulsions, habit, reason, passion, desire.” Do not leave your actions up to chance. And put a little love into your actions!
Pearls of Peace (PoP) quiz:
6. How has the pandemic affected any of your behavior changes in the past year and a half?
7. What behavior change would you like to make happen next?