The Bullseye to Defeating Bad Habits
When I was a kid I used to eat whatever I wanted. I loved fried food and anything loaded with sugar. As I got older, my choices began to catch up with me. I gained a lot of weight when I hit my twenties and I knew I had to change. I learned how to eat healthier and lost the weight I needed to lose. One thing that surprised me in the process was the fact that I was not only addicted to the taste of food, but to the emotional comfort it gave me.
Why We Give into Bad Habits.
A bad habit can be any addictive action we use to numb pain—maybe it's overeating, smoking, or drinking too much. The reason people get sucked into unhealthy patterns of behavior is because they are using it to numb emotional pain.
Insecurity, fear, and shame lie at the root of all chronic addictions. Physical symptoms (such as being tired or hungry) bring root emotions more easily to the surface. Like a low tide, the bottom layers of the heart become exposed. No longer buried beneath the deep, these root emotions are much more tender and harder to ignore.
Hitting the Bullseye.
By identifying the underlying cause of pain, you can attack the addiction itself and shatter its illusion of comfort. Often, when we try to stop a bad habit, we focus on the action itself. We identify triggers and set boundaries so we don't repeat it. While this is a good start, it's much like throwing darts and only hitting the outer rings of the target. In order to win the game, you have to hit the bullseye. What is the bullseye? The underlying beliefs that keep you addicted.
Changing deeply held beliefs takes time. You must continually replace old beliefs with new ones that are positive, realistic, redemptive, and hope-filled. This can be done in a variety of ways: through counseling, reading, journaling, joining a support group, and opening up to safe people. Finally, fostering an authentic relationship with God is where you will find lasting change. Recovery takes time, but it is well worth it when you finally find freedom.
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