By Dr. Michael Brooks
The smell of flowers can be a wonderful memory or a very painful experience to some of us. I remember standing before my sisters casket several months ago, smelling her flowers that lined the back wall of the funeral home. They were beautiful, and in full bloom. I had her son on my right, with my arm around his shoulder, and my daughter Alissa to my left with my arm around her. I stared at my sisters face, trying to imagine her sleeping, I just couldn’t do it, it wasn’t working for me. The music in the background, was music she would have hated. She was a ZZ top, deadhead, rock and roll chick. I was hearing harps, old organ hymns playing over the intercom, while hearing whispers of people behind me. It was starting getting dark, the doors opened around 4:00 PM that late cloudy November afternoon.
I stood there what seemed for hours, but really several minutes passed by. So much raced through my mind, why did she have to die so young? I had plenty of answers, I knew the reasons, but did she? I thought, how can someone knowingly continue to poison their body after watching both their parents pass away from the painful death, from smoking and drinking?
I used to beg my mom and dad to quit smoking, both were two pack a day smokers. My sister Deb was 2 packs a day, yet she never stopped or wanted to. She was being controlled by her smokes, a deadly bad habit. I also asked her to reconsider her smoking habits. I told her that we wanted her around to grow old with and enjoy times together. I kept staring at her face and listening to the music she probably would have made fun of. I turned and walked away back to the row chairs where the rest of the family was and sat down.
Her son Joey, who didn’t have a very good relationship with her, stood there another 5 minutes. I watched him as he stood in front of the casket, not knowing what he should do. Let’s face it, being in your late 20’s and seeing your mother laid out, is kinda tough to have happen to you.
He finally came back and sat down, just staring at his mothers casket with the flowers surrounding her. Uncle Mike, why did she have to die? A tough question, and one that I pondered on for a little while. And said, “Joey, she had bad habits, unhealthy ones, that killed her. She was controlled by her bad habits.” I asked him if he agreed, and he said yes!
Are any of you controlled by your bad habits, like smoking, drinking, drugs, sex, over eating, porn? Do your habits hurt your children, your parents, your spouse, or even your friends or co-workers? How many of you want to get help but are afraid that working on your bad habits will be to hard for you?
I saw what my parents alcoholism and smoking did to our family. I saw what they did to my sister, Deb. My sister Deb, started drinking when she was 12 years old. She would sneak a beer, then mom’s wine, then the hard stuff. My mom and dad would pass out on their bed after hard drinking, and never had a clue what was going on in my sisters life. I tried telling my parents that Deb had a drinking problem, it never sunk in. Then she started stealing their cigarettes, she would smoke at school when she hung around her friends, my parents did nothing!
She had no control over her actions, she had several DUI’s, even had her drivers license revoked for the rest of her life. My dad and mom, allowed her to continue on her destructive ways, without confronting her. I sure tried, I begged her to stop her smoking, and drinking, and she laughed at me. She had the reputation as the party girl at our high school. The teachers could not believe we were related, we were total opposites. I talked to my high school guidance counselors back then about her problems, they could do nothing.
So, lets look at what you can do to help a loved one who has no control over bad habits or self control. Don’t harp on them, this is a main complaint that I hear in my office. Listen to them, suggest where they can get help if they ask you, and if you can talk with them about their needs, all the better. Arguing only makes matters worse. Think about it, do you think you will win someone over to your way of thinking by pointing out their faults with the bad habits they have? There is no way! The best way to get anywhere is to talk about their feelings, listen, don’t try to fix anything. Hear where their life struggles are. Ask if its OK to share your thoughts on the matter. If you feel like you’re getting upset, then stop. Try to get more details from them and keep listening. Tell them you appreciate their honesty and try to plan to have another talk, soon!
Then start doing your research, not to bolster your argument, but, to help them see there are other ways to deal with their bad habits. You’re providing the resources they need to get answers for figuring things out. I also suggest that you go and look up the resources they need and print them out and hand them the material. Discovery is an amazing thing, if we allow people to do that on their own time. Most likely they will read what you give them, but in their own time. Remember that!
If your the person who needs to identify the areas where you have lost control and are dealing with a bad habit, then write them down, your list may have one or it may have several items on it. For example, you have a fear of dogs. Write down why your afraid of dogs. Did you get bitten by a dog when you were a child? Does a barking dog bother you? My point is make sure you completely cover all the reasons you don’t like dogs. Remember, this list is an open list of losing control to your fears and emotions. So, you can substitute any fear you may have on this list. Remember you want to regain control over the bad habits and fears by identifying what they are. On my list, it would be flying. I am so afraid of flying, it controls me, I have no control over it. It started when I saw a plane crash that killed seven people as a kid. That is etched in my mind forever. The sound of the racing engine just before impact, the explosion, the ball of fire, followed by the black smoke..who can forget!
When I started doing speaking engagements, I had to fly and was terrified at the thought of it! Believe me, I was tempted to drive the 1,100 hundred miles, a 21 hour drive for a 2 hour talk. That was out of the question. I faced my fears, and did my research. I went to google and looked up the stats for airplane crashes and the percentages of it happening and surviving. I have to admit that helped a great deal. My next step was to sit down and go over the advantages of flying. Well, that was a no brainer, it was a little over a 3 hour flight. I would get to meet new people at the airport and on the plane. Less chance of getting into a car accident on the road if I flew, and planes were safer to travel. That was my way of dealing with flying. I travel all the time now doing motivational talks and enjoying the flying. If you follow this formula, it will work. Its worked for me, it’s basic for sure.
If that doesn’t work for you, then talking to a professional will help you. I like to ask my clients a basic set of questions, the who, what, where and why, of their fears or bad habits and when they started? We will talk about each reason they are controlled by their fears and bad habits. Many never face them because they don’t know how or have the tools to do so.
I had one woman who had a bad habit of over eating. She was well over 320 pounds and only 24 years old. I asked her “Beth, why do you feel you’re over weight?” She, responded by saying, “my parents have always fed us too much, When we cried..they put food into our mouths, to keep us quiet.” She went on to say, when she gets nervous, she eats. When she gets depressed, she eats. When she doesn’t feel well, she eats. She eats to keep people away from her in general. She wants to avoid being in a relationship, so no one can hurt her. How destructive is this pattern she is living in?
Life coaching helped her a great deal. She is now 26 years old at 150 pounds, and loving herself and life. What did I do to help her? We simply talked about the consequences of over eating and the health related concerns that went along with them. Many obese and overweight people, really have no clue what being overweight does to you physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
The first problem Beth and I talked about being overweight, was the health concerns I had. I asked her, do you know what can happen to you physically if you continue to maintain or gain weight? She said, sure..”I can die from a heart attack!” That’s a possibility and there are other concerns you should have, I said. I ask you, as my readers, do you know what can happen to you or a loved one, if you’re obese or over weight? Heart attack, High Blood Pressure, stroke, Type 2 Diabetes, Cancer, Osteoarthritis, Sleep Apnea, Reproductive Problems, Gallstones, shortness of breath, etc. She saw that as a problem, when presented from a health professional. Her primary doc never brought up her obesity. Amazing!
What does being over weight do to you emotionally? When things get tough, maybe at the office, at school, or even home..you walk over the fridge and start looking for the ice cream in the freezer, cause you just don’t want to deal with the emotional pain any longer. Its taking the easy way out. You don’t confront your emotional issues, you simply eat them away. So, when things get tough emotionally for you, you run to the comfort food. The best way to deal with this, is to sit down, and write down the emotional trigger points for you, and start a plan. NOT to go eat away your sorrows, but to face and deal with them. Deal with them “on the spot” and recognize that you do have control over what goes into your mouth. Don’t give in to your emotions!
What does being over weight do to you spiritually? I like to think, that God gave us these vessels we live in, while we’re here on earth. Maybe look at it from the perspective of someone giving you a house, you live in it, you have to take care of it. You have to make sure the furnace is working, the hot and cold water is working. You want the doors and windows to be in good shape, and for good measure you may want to have some nice painted walls to look at. If your taking care of yourself, I believe that God honors that. We need to be healthy and wholesome for ourselves, and others in our lives.
So, how does Life Coaching help you with breaking bad habits and taking back control of your life? What I do as a life coach, is to help you discover that you have the ability to say yes and no. If someone offers you a drink, and you know its gonna cause you some problems, then say, no thanks! Then leave the area. If someone offers you a joint, say no thanks and leave. You really do have control of what you say and do. For some of you, who have bought into the lie, “he made me do it”, then you need to keep away from those who are bad influences in your life and get help in learning how to say no and focus on building your future! I can do that for you. If you need help, call me and we can set up an appointment and talk.
Do you have a difficult time in controlling your bad habits? Have you lost friendships over bad habits? Do you want to restore any of those friendships? Do you hurt others with your bad habits and want to stop them? If you answered yes to any of these questions, I can help you plan on how to control these bad habits that have affected your life. I will help you put a working plan together that helps you control bad habits.
You can go to Mike’s blog and comment on today’s article at http://www.applicablecoaching.com/blog/