It’s easy to imagine habits like smoking after a meal, biting your nails or saying, “you know” after every sentence. An event or a time of day triggers us, and we go with the habit. It’s easier than exploring new territory, it’s merely a thoughtless response to an incoming trigger.
Like a small drops of water, overtime they become an ocean. Overtime anger can sneak into you unaware.
But emotions can become habits as well.
Distrustful is a habit.
Lonely is a habit.
Attention seeking is a habit.
Being generous and doing work that matters is a habit.
When that stranger does not do what you expect, is your response to assume that she’s out to get you, trying to cash in on you, looking for a shortcut? Or do you default to the habit of giving that new person a chance to explain herself?
Habits are great when they help us get what we want. Bad habits, on the other hand, are bad because the shortcut that satisfies us in the moment gets in the way of our long term goals.
Once you can see that your emotions are as much as a habit as cracking your knuckles, they are a lot easier to work with.