Self Regulation

Since we committed to working on this goal, we’ve had to stop making excuses, and just face up to doing some very hard things.  And as we’ve done that, a lot of sludge has been coming out.  Insecurities, weaknesses, old wounds, lies we’ve told ourselves for so long that they have taken on the appearance of truths, just tons of really yucky sludgey stuff.  I keep wondering, where is all this stuff coming from?  I thought I was over this, I didn’t even realize that was a problem, and so on.

I’ve been taking traffic school online for the last couple of weeks.  I’m about….2/7 of the way through the course.  Another one of those things that I’m trying to fit into a schedule that feels like it’s bursting at the seams.  A couple of lessons ago I came across a description of what’s called “self regulating.”  It’s essentially avoiding driving situations that you find difficult or potentially dangerous.  It could mean keeping to the slow lane, or choosing not to make right turns at red lights.  Parking in the back of a parking lot to avoid having to deal with other drivers, or never driving during inclement weather.  Traffic school posits that more self regulation leads to safer roads.  I’m not so sure.

When I first read about self regulation, my initial thought was that it would lead to timid drivers who don’t really know how to drive, and who can’t handle themselves on the road when things get real.  Who can’t handle LA traffic, or parallel parking on a busy street, or making that really scary left turn with a whole line of cars lined up behind you.  When you have to safely change 4 lanes of traffic in the space of half of a mile to reach the freeway offramp…do you really want to be the guy who never practiced changing lanes because it seemed a little dangerous?

It suddenly occurred to me why it is that all that sludge is coming up and out now.  We’ve been self regulating our lives.  We’ve been avoiding anything that forces us to even approach the difficult, the uncomfortable, the awkward, the icky.  We’ve made anything and everything our excuses, and now that we’ve started calling BS on all the excuses and just facing up to things…it’s getting a little yucky.  It doesn’t feel good.

I was discussing this with husband earlier.  He made the point that maybe instead of avoiding those bad feelings as we have for years, we should sit with them.  Listen to them, and learn something.  Learn about the parts of ourselves that are broken, rotted, and in disrepair.  And then fix them.






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