I have a problem with my ears that repeats itself every 2-3 years since my early 20s.
This past weekend I had to deal with it again, and when I checked in at the Urgent Care, the guy helping me commented that it was the same issue I was there for in 2017.
Yes, I know. This isn’t the first time it’s happened.
In fact, it’s at least the third or possibly the fourth time.
My thought about it is that it’s “totally embarrassing.” That “it shouldn’t be a problem.” And that “maybe it won’t happen again.”
These thoughts leaving me feeling embarrassed and ashamed.
Can you guess what these feelings make me want to do?
Let me tell you.
I want to pretend it’s not a problem and that it doesn’t happen. I want to pretend it won’t happen again. I want to forget about it. And when it starts to look like it might be a problem again, I put off getting it taken care for as long as possible. I wait til the last possible minute. Til I just can’t put it off any longer.
Of course, the result is that it is a problem for me (and almost certainly a much bigger problem than it would be if I were thinking differently about it). And, it keeps happening again. Every 2-3 years.
Last time this happened, in 2017, I asked the doctor what I could do to prevent the issue from happening in the future.
I did two of the three things suggested. But, I didn’t do all three.
Why didn’t I do the third thing?
Because I had thoughts like, “That will take too long.” “I don’t have time for that.” “There’s no guarantee that will help.” And “It probably won’t make that much of a difference anyway.”
I think it is also helpful to note here that the two things I did do were actually things to STOP doing. Easy. (At least in my mind, ha!)
But the third thing? The third thing was something to START doing. On a regular, consistent basis. Which was a huge problem for me, because back then, I identified as someone who had a hard time with consistency. Someone who struggled to build health habits that last. Which meant I usually took actions (or rather, lack of actions) that proved that true for myself.
Now, there’s no way to know if it would have made a difference or not, because I didn’t do it.
All I know is that here I am again, with this problem, that actually became a worse problem because I ended feeling very sick the couple of days after visiting the Urgent Care. Best guess is my ears were damaged somehow through all of this, resulting in an awful case of vertigo. And it has not been fun. I’m still very much suffering from it as I am writing this post.
In my mind, this whole experience could be labeled as a “failure,” because it is something that did not turn out the way I would have liked.
But no matter. Cause what I care about most now is learning from it.
Whenever we notice a pattern in our lives, it’s useful to pause and consider how we are creating the associated result for ourselves.
To find all the ways we are fully responsible for that result we have created.
I created this ear problem for myself, as well as the associated vertigo I’m dealing with now.
I’m not blaming myself. It happened. It’s okay.
But, I am taking responsibility for all of it. Because as long as the responsibility is mine, I have all the power to change it going forward.
I asked the doctor, again, what I could do to prevent this issue from happening again.
He suggested some of the things I had already stopped doing, as well as one new thing that hadn’t been mentioned before.
That new thing is also a thing to START doing. A habit to develop.
Whether or not I do this thing going forward depends on how I think about it.
I no longer identify as someone who struggles with consistency / building habits and routines that last. So, that’s good.
But, that doesn’t mean I am home free.
I actually took time last night, while feeling absolutely miserable, to self coach on this and really take a hard look at all the thoughts, feelings, and actions that created my current results. It’s hard to get to where we want to go if we don’t know where we currently are.
Instead of thinking this action will “take too much time” or focusing on how “results might not be guaranteed” – instead of telling myself “I don’t have time for that” – I’m telling myself “this is important.” That “it matters” – even in the moments when I don’t think it does. I’m reminding myself that it actually takes less than 10 minutes. That it’s NOT too much time. And I’m choosing to make sure it happens.
What does that look like?
I’m deciding right now when I will do this action each week, and putting a reminder in my calendar.
I’m not thinking that “I will fit it in” or that “I’ll get to it” or that “I’ll figure it out later.” Cause I know that creates a result, for me, of NOT doing it.
I’m giving it time and space now. I’m deciding now so I don’t have to decide later or spend any more time thinking about it.
I can tell you I won’t do this perfectly, and that’s okay. It’s not about doing it every single time it’s on my calendar.
It’s about doing it most of the time it’s on my calendar. Which means letting go of any days I don’t do it…not making them mean anything about me or my ability to follow through…and then staying focused on what I AM doing once a week on that specified day at that approximate time.
Do you have a pattern in your life that periodically repeats itself and creates an unwanted result for you?
If you were to take full responsibility for that pattern and associated result, without blaming yourself, how is it that you created this result for yourself?
What actions did you take that led to that result?
What were you feeling that caused you to take those actions?
What were you thinking that had you feeling that way?
What result would you like to create? And how would you need to think, feel, and act differently to create that result?
If you feel stuck with any of these questions, comment below or message me in the sidebar on the right. Happy to help!!