We are What we Do

“The actions of men are the best interpreters of their thoughts.” – James Joyce, Irish novelist and poet, considered to be one of the most influential writers in the modernist avant-garde of the early 20th century, best-known for Ulysses (1882-1941)

We’ve heard the phrase, “You are what you eat.” But it’s also true that we are what we do. Our actions show others our true intentions. That is, when we act in accordance with our beliefs, this is readily seen by others. At least they’re able to interpret our actions through a kind of filter that allows them to be somewhat more able to gauge who and what we are.

Why is action so important? More specifically, why is paying attention to how we act so crucial with respect to our progress in recovery? These are excellent questions and likely the answers will help us in decision making.

It may be easier to just go through the motions of a certain task without giving too much thought to it. But this lackluster and incomplete attempt doesn’t serve us well, either in the short or long term. Moreover, our actions are viewed by others for just what they are: rushed, insincere attempts to get the job done as quickly as possible.

Not that we won’t encounter difficulty when we try something new or run into obstacles in trying to complete an action, project or task. It isn’t the hurdle we encounter or the dismay or disappointment we may feel when we run into difficulties, but the attitude and persistence we display in seeking to overcome such obstacles that counts. This is especially true when we repeatedly run into difficulty and start to feel discouraged about our prospects.

While success may foster further success, it’s sometimes quite hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when we run into more roadblocks than when we see a clear path.

How do we get to the point where we act in a truthful manner, in accordance with our beliefs? More specifically, how can we change our beliefs so that they are more positive and hopeful? This isn’t an easy undertaking, since our beliefs are formed and shaped over time. Still, we can make the effort and it is certainly worthwhile to do so.

  • When thinking about taking an action, imagine the outcome in a more hopeful light. This will help inform the action we take.
  • Make it a point to see alternatives for any proposed action and weigh and balance one against the other in order to arrive at the most logical, reasoned approach that will likely improve our success.
  • Seek the company of friends and allies in recovery who demonstrate positive outlook and have had good success in overcoming some of the same obstacles and hurdles we’re encountering. We can learn much from their example as well as receive valuable support and encouragement for our own efforts.
  • Never give up. What may seem like a disappointment today may lead to new opportunities and insight. Be ready, willing and eager to embrace challenges.

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Brought to you by Elements Behavioral Health

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