“Transformation is much more than using skills, resources, and technology. It’s about Habits of Mind” - Malcolm Gladwell
On this week’s Insightful Conversations, I had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Amy Johnson. Amy is a psychologist, coach, author, speaker, and founder of The Little School of Big Change, an online school that has helped thousands of people find freedom from anxiety, addictions, and habits through the understanding of the Principles.
Amy is also the author of The Little Book of Big Change: The No-Willpower Approach to Breaking Any Habit, which just so happens to be one of my favorite 3 Principles books. This book is not only an excellent resource for people who are struggling with all forms of habits and addictions, but it is also a wonderful introduction to the 3 Principles. With her gifted use of metaphor, Amy has a practical and easy-to-understand way of explaining the 3P understanding.
Having gone through her own struggles with an eating disorder, Amy is passionate about helping people suffering from all types of addictions and habits. She knows all too well how it feels when one has failed again and again to overcome an unwanted habit. With each failed attempt to combat the behavior, our sense of self is diminished. So, it also makes sense that shaming ourselves with labels such as an “addict” when we have innocently resorted to old coping mechanisms will only worsen matters.
That is why Amy refers to a dependency on a substance or behavior as a “habit” as opposed to an addiction. When we refer to our unwanted habits as addictions, they have a heavier quality to them. They appear more solid and insurmountable. Something we will battle with for the rest of our lives, as opposed to something temporary due to our state of mind.
Prior to coming across the Principles, I also struggled with a few of my own unwanted habits. Like many people, I developed these habitual behaviors as a coping mechanism to help escape the incessant negative chatter of my personal mind. The usual run-of-the-mill insecure thoughts such as you’re not good enough, too fat, stupid, untalented, etc. Regardless of which insecure thoughts we might have, they result in us feeling anxious and overwhelmed. Then we try to manage our stress by engaging in our habit, which only perpetuates the cycle of anxiety and negativity.
Coming across the 3 Principles was pivotal in helping me break free of some of my unhealthy habits. It also bought me the peace of mind I had spent my whole life searching for. The Principles helped me see that I am both spiritual and human, rolled into one, and as such, at my essence, I am perfect just as I am. They also helped me see that there was nothing wrong with me if I suffered from bouts of anxiety. Having a busy mind is part of being human, and feeling anxious thoughts is part of the human experience. This insight helped me become less identified with the content of my personal mind.
In the past, I had innocently tried to fill the void within and escape my insecure thoughts by using substances, behaviors, and relationships to distract me. However, once I understood that we experience life, moment to moment, via our thinking, I stopped seeking solace from the outside in. More importantly, I learned that I didn’t need to believe the negative self-talk that filled my head.
These days I don’t need to avoid, mask, numb, or bury my feelings by engaging in my habits. I see that the anxious thoughts in my head are nothing to fear. I see that no matter how uncomfortable my feelings get, I can handle them. I see that my feelings were transitory and that if left alone, they will disperse on their own accord, and I will return to my natural state of wellbeing. What a blessing it is to know that we don’t have to look for relief from the outside as everything we need is within us.
With love and appreciation, Del 💕