Amy Rees Anderson

Breaking Bad Habits

Today I am going to share a very impactful analogy that a counselor once shared with me. It was an analogy that literally changed my life and I hope that it can help some of you that might be facing challenges in breaking bad habits that are holding you back from finding real happiness, so here goes:

Many years ago after I was divorced from my first husband I started going to see a counselor to help me figure out what led me to make the choice of marriage I did, what caused me to stay in a bad situation, etc.  I figure that in order for me to change the future I was going to need to figure out why I made some of the choices I had so I could be sure that I didn’t repeat those types of choices again.  In one of the session the counselor pointed out that she noticed that even though the men I was dating after my divorce were not as bad as the situation I had been in during my marriage that they were still not the caliber of guys that I should be going out with.   I suppose at the time I hadn’t realized it for myself but when she pointed it out to me I had to agree that perhaps she was right.  I asked her to help me figure out what the heck was wrong with me that I kept gravitating toward the wrong guys.  She told me an analogy that I have never forgotten and I felt there was value in sharing it with all of you because it taught me a valuable lesson in my life and perhaps there are some of you out there that might benefit from the analogy the same way that I was able to, so here goes:

The counselor said to me:  “It’s like this.  There is a street you walk down to get to work every day (not a literal street I walked down, but she was trying to paint a picture).  In the middle of the street is a huge pothole and as you are walking down that street you fall into that pothole and you are trapped and you cannot get out.   You try to climb out and you can’t.  You call for help, but no one can here you.  Then finally after a very long time, a lot of tears and heartache, you are able to work your way out of the pothole and get out.  Then the next day comes along and again you start walking down the street and this time you try to scale the very edges of the pothole as to not fall in, but sure enough you are too close to the edge and you fall back in again.  You get out a little faster than last time but only after a lot more tears and struggle.  Then the next day comes and you walk down the street again, this time you walk a few feet from the pothole, watching it carefully and feeling the anxiety of not wanting to get to close so you don’t actually fall in.  Then the next day comes and finally, you get smart enough that you WALK DOWN A DIFFERENT STREET ALL TOGETHER!  And that is when your happiness can begin.”

That story struck me so hard in my life because I actually got it.  For years I dated guys that were just a little bit better than my x, but not really the type of guy that girl deserves, but in my mind I kept thinking that they were better than what I had, rather than focusing on getting the kind of guy a girl truly deserves.  I was stuck in the mode of walking the same street over and over again while trying to avoid falling in the pothole, rather than choosing to WALK DOWN A DIFFERENT STREET.

It was that analogy that was in my head when I was invited to go on a trip to Lake Powell in the summer of 2007 with a group of single friends.  When I got on the boat there were several single men to choose from.  Several of the guys were the type of guys that I typically dated.  The typical ladies’ men with the suave looks and the player moves.  But there was this other guy was also good looking, but in a different way.  He was physically cute, but what made him even cuter was that he was more interested in helping people on our boat by teaching them how to get up on a wakeboard for the first time then he was in flaunting himself in front of the ladies’ trying to pick them up.  He was kind and patient and a genuinely good soul.  As I sat on the boat with the men who were flirting, I looked over to the back of the boat to see the man facing the person out in the water shouting encouraging words to them that they could do this, that they almost had it and to give it one more try. In that moment I remembered the analogy from my counselor so clearly it was like someone screaming to me that it was time for me to WALK DOWN A DIFFERENT STREET.  So I got up from my seat in the boat and went and sat next to the man at the back of the boat….two months later he and I were engaged to be married and two months after that we were!  And without a doubt he was the best decision I ever made in my life!!

I am so grateful that I had a counselor who was willing to help me figure out how to change my life for the better.  I am so grateful that I was able to recognize my need to WALK DOWN A DIFFERENT STREET and to then have the courage to do it.  And look how that paid off in my life!  I am the luckiest girl in the world today because of it.

If any of you are struggling with something in your own life, and it doesn’t have to be just a relationship, it can be any bad habit that you need to break or any life change that you need to make in order to open yourself up to seeing that view that will come when you finally have the courage to make your life decision to WALK DOWN A DIFFERENT STREET, then I encourage you to do it.  Life is beautiful when you take the best path to work :).

Have a great day!

~Amy

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