Have you ever paused for a second or two and wondered why you did something?
Why did I just eat three whole cupcakes, when I want to lose weight by the end of this week? Why did I just ignore her completely, even though I wanted to talk to her all night? Why did I break up with him, when deep down I was just scared to take the next step?
We've all done things and wondered why we did them in the first place. Sometimes we feel regret; other times, we just move on. If you’re the latter, you’re good to go because you realize there is no point in worrying about the past; however, if you’re the former, then there might be a problem.
The bottom line is we all do things we shouldn't be doing, and most of the time, we do those things while knowing it’s not the best decision. So why do we do it, anyway?
Self-interest through learned behavior is the answer. It is human nature to do things out of self-interest, especially in the short run because, let's face it: Feeling instant gratification is of the utmost importance. We usually ignore all the other voices in our head that tell us otherwise.
Perhaps you’re someone who says yes to everything and everyone, when in reality, you should be saying no to people, choices and actions that destroy you. However, you've learned to say yes, and it feels great in the moment. Once the action is done, though, you immediately regret it.
Then there are times we are feeling empty, and we tell ourselves if we do or say this one thing, the pain will go away. But in reality, when you give into this urge, the gratification is short lived.
Most of the time, we do things because we want to avoid the pain or the guilt of saying no. We fail to realize that by doing so, we are only creating more pain the future. It is a never-ending cycle.
In addition, emotions make us prone to tunnel-vision decisions. We do things that will help us in the spur of a moment, while simultaneously choosing to oversee the effects in the long run. We are all culprits of this.
There is no point in worrying about the past and the decisions you've made; what you can do is focus on changing your learned behavior in the future. When you're about to do something you have think twice about, or you hear all sorts of voices in your head, acknowledge what you’re feeling before making a decision.
Of course it is easier said than done; it takes time and progress, but eventually it will become a new learned behavior. You just have to put your mind to it and create new habits.
Photo via We Heart It