How plugging in a coffee maker set me free from a compulsive, fearful need to perform silly habits ungrounded in experience and truth.
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The Art of Breaking Silly Habits: A Story of a Plug, Wet Hands, and Living Without Fear

How plugging in a coffee maker set me free from a compulsive, fearful need to perform silly habits ungrounded in experience and truth.

So there I was, about to reach for the plug of the coffee maker, when I realized I had wet hands. I stopped.

My mother’s voice ran through my head.

“Do not EVER plug in or unplug appliances with wet hands. You will get electrocuted.”

This advice was passed along to me by my family along with other gems like “Don’t EVER water flowers on your period, they’ll die” and “Don’t pick pimples on your chin, you’ll make your brain bleed.”

I realized both were not true more recently than I care to admit.

So, there I was, staring at the plug. Wet hands and all.

My thoughts raced with all the intensity of one of those dramatic moments in the movies where a sweaty man in a darkened room is deciding between the blue wire and the red wire.

My mind screamed, “Dry your hands! You’ll die! You’ll get electrocuted!”

I wasn’t falling for it. I mean, obviously, I shouldn’t touch the metal part with my hands, wet or otherwise. But the cord? It’s insulated for a reason.

But still, there was the fear.

I knew, with some certainty, that nothing would happen. Yet the mere habit of doing something pointless for years had infused my mind with chaos and fear.

In slow motion that truly deserved swelling violins, I picked up the plug and shoved it in the socket.

Nothing happened.

I laughed.

So this was just another silly story I was telling myself. I felt relieved. Yet I also felt some nostalgia. I remembered when my silly habits were more numerous and some of them weren’t so silly.

I remember a time when my mind would scream even louder and when I felt I had no way out. I remember when all I felt I could do was follow the messages of fear.

And how many of us are keeping around these little silly habits? These little habits that are based on rumour, ungrounded in truth, and sit around emitting senseless fear. But we keep doing them to “keep the peace.”

The truth is—giving into the fear that keeps up silly little habits is actually a silly habit.

Do it enough and the next thing you know, you’re right back into your mental health crisis.

Personal and spiritual growth isn’t something that happens all at once in some big, grandiose spectacle. It happens one moment at a time, one breath at a time, one decision to break silly little habits at a time.

So, what about you? What silly little habit will you break the next time you get a chance? What tiny thing will you do to set yourself free?

Comments

16 thoughts on “The Art of Breaking Silly Habits: A Story of a Plug, Wet Hands, and Living Without Fear

  1. Bianca

    I love this post. It’s great when you notice the voice and can break those habits. It’s the times when you don’t because it’s not yet time, that can really mess you up. I love what you said about how personal and spiritual growth doesn’t happen all at once, but little by little. It is definitely a journey, and one that offers so much.

    1. Vironika

      Yes, exactly, Bianca. And it’s so important to realize that the voice comes out to judge what the voice made you do. You listen to your fears and then, later, you judge yourself for listening to your fears. That, too, is a habit! The only sane answer is unconditional self-acceptance. 🙂

  2. Emma

    Vironika,

    I can so relate to this post! I have suffered from a lot of kitchen-related OCD in my time – funnily enough it’s the only room of the house where I felt the need to repeatedly check, check and double check that everything was ‘off’ before bedtime, before going out, e.t.c. The gas stove was my personal favourite! I would fret that my cats might somehow learn how to switch it on and start a house fire! You are so right, if we allow our fears to go unchecked and continually give them our energy they can eventually become so powerful that they risk ruining our health.

    1. Vironika

      This is funny and so true, Emma. It’s just obscene how these things get out of hand. Kitchen OCD was a big one for me at one point. I used to have so much anxiety about my health too. To the point that it gave me health problems! How liberating to discover that we can just let go. That we can just stop anthropomorphizing the cats to satisfy our own fears.

  3. Sam

    I remember my mum always turned off the tv during a thunderstorm in case the lightning blew it up! I believed it might happen until I did a science lesson when I was 14, my mum still does it to this day, she will not believe that its not true
    great post Vironika x

    1. Vironika

      That is too funny, Sam. Thank you for sharing. I’m glad you experimented!

  4. Jenny

    This is great, Vironika!

    I love the way you’ve illustrated the parallel between some seemingly ‘pointless’ habit to those that we believe that truly may be doing some damage, deep in our selves. It’s too easy to believe the things that someone in a position of perceived authority told us, especially when we were young. Some of them run so deep we don’t even realise they’re on the list of lies we’ve chosen to believe.

    Thanks for this beautiful reminder that everything is our teacher, in every moment.

    Big Love <3

    1. Vironika

      They do run so deep, don’t they, Jenny? Every time I uncover one, in recent times, I am still surprised that I believed it for so long. After a while, it is just incredibly funny. What inventive stories we tell ourselves!

  5. Shan

    Vironika, thank you for the great read. I love the way you describe the melodramatic moment that goes with deciding to plug in the cord with wet hands.

    It’s so easy to see when others have silly little habits, but so much more difficult to see our own. It’s such a relief when we discover that we have the authority and the vision to evaluate what habits serve us and which are fears instilled by things that really don’t help our growth.

    1. Vironika

      Yes, that is so true! It is harder to see our own. How can we know what we don’t know? And yet, once we see it, what else can we do but laugh and release? (Except, perhaps, laugh some more?)

  6. Dawn

    Ha Vironika, this is great. Hmmmm, let’s see, “What silly little habit will you break the next time you get a chance?”? Well, I guess I don’t really know until it happens. LOL. But you can be rest assured I will remember this post at that time!

    In a flash, change happens. Brilliant.

    1. Vironika

      Can’t wait to see what you set free, Dawn 😀

  7. Kelly

    Hi Vironika! Thank you for sharing this brilliant post. I can’t stop thinking of all the silly little habits I still believe. I also can’t stop thinking about all the silly little thoughts I have about me. I realize the one silly habit I do, whenever I’m going to do anything, is think of the worst possible reaction someone will have to what I want to do. For example, I want to write about XXXX….”What, that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.” Because of you, I am giving up this silly little habit. I’m going to replace it with a self-love habit. New habit: I want to write about XXX…”That’s a great idea. Tell me more about it.” Thank you for inspiring me to revisit all my silly habits. Big hugs and lots of love! <3

    1. Vironika

      I know how you feel, Kelly! That one used to really get me. I would write to these faceless critics. I would write to the cynic I used to be! Breaking that habit was the most liberating thing I ever did as a writer and a people helper. We need more authenticity warriors out there! I fully support you in your new loving ways.

  8. Caroline

    I love this paragraph Vironika..

    Personal and spiritual growth isn’t something that happens all at once in some big, grandiose spectacle. It happens one moment at a time, one breath at a time, one decision to break silly little habits at a time.

    That’s it exactly.. changing the habits that hold us back.. I’m pretty laid back on all the ‘silly’ rules you speak of.. fear around such stuff seemed to miss me out completely but the more real stuff.. that hinder my own growth.. i encounter those in abundance 🙂 I think the habit of putting stuff off is the one I need to make changes around

    thank you

    1. Vironika

      …And even the big, real, scary stuff, one step at a time. 🙂

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