I read in two different books that humans are the only species that knows exactly what’s good for them and what’s bad for them and yet do the exact thing that is bad for them. We’re considered the smartest species, but it appears that in this regard God has “used the foolish things of the world to confound the wise”. Fish know that rocks aren’t good for them to eat; so they do not eat rocks. They know to eat worms, bugs, algae, kelp, and phytoplankton – if I’m not mistaken. Birds know that they are to eat flying insects and worms. Lions know that they eat certain animals.
But humans on the other hand know that we are only supposed to eat real food (things God makes) like plants and animals/meat and vegetables. But we will eat high-fructose corn syrup, aspartame, genetically-engineered food, high cholesterol foods, etc. etc. We know that God did not make the human body to thrive off of greasy French fries and Coca-Cola. We know that humans – just like plants – are supposed to have a LOT of water. We know that too much grease will clog our arteries and cause atherosclerosis and high-blood pressure and stroke and heart attack. We know MORE, much more, than any animal in the world, and yet we don’t utilize all that knowledge. Animals don’t know very much, but they certainly make use of EVERYTHING they do know. Humans on the other hand know A LOT, but we set ourselves about the business of doing the exact opposite sometimes. But food is not even the beginning.
When it comes to working, lifestyle choices, friends, romantic relationships, and other aspects of our lives, we KNOW what’s good for us just as we KNOW what is bad for us, and YET we choose the wrong things perhaps even most of the time. For example, I know that at my job, I’m supposed to work a certain amount of hours a day. But if I’m feeling particularly lazy that day, I may come in late and leave early. Keep in mind that I know full well that the job has laid many people off, that the world is in a recession, that I am very expendable at my place of employment, and that I do have things that need to be paid (off). So with all this knowledge moving around in my brain, I still will press snooze five times before getting up. I know that I will be hearing from people to make payments if I don’t work like I should, but I call myself intelligent as I do these foolish things. I should be an adult about the situation and either work the designated hours or find a job that I enjoy going to.
When it comes to lifestyle choices, we choose and do things that are detrimental to our health. Many adults and teenagers know the statistics of HPV and HIV and yet will lay down without protection with a total stranger when they know these two diseases are incurable. They have seen documentaries and have heard the accounts of people whose bodies are ravaged by the world’s perhaps worst and most painful disease that is also one of the most PREVENTABLE diseases. And yet they will lay down without protection. If a rabbit sees a lion, it does not go up to it and try to make friends. It runs and hides. A fish will swim away from a shark. But an intelligent human being will fall for the line, “If you love me, you’ll do it for me.” We humans know that to lose weight or to maintain a normal weight, we are supposed to be active; but we lay on the couch all day instead. We need to be honest with ourselves about these bad habits and need to be responsible to change it. We need to stop lying to ourselves when we know better, and we need to start working on doing better instead of always saying, “I know I need to do better”.
When it comes to friendships, we humans are not using our knowledge wisely. Some of us have friends who only call when they need to borrow something, when they want to want to whine and complain about something, when they need a ride, etc. These friends are never there for us when we need them, but we call them friends when they are only using us. We see these friends betray other people, but we trust them with our deepest secrets. A cat will not continue to hang out with a cat it just got into a cat fight with. It knows this cat is not trustworthy. But we women will call someone a friend when we know the person is trifling. We need to be honest with ourselves as adults and end the friendship if the person is not trying to work on their integrity.
When it comes to romantic relationships, we use no sense. We know when a relationship is not working anymore. But we’ll sit around for years unhappy knowing it’ll only get worse. A monkey knows to move on. We stay with someone who will flirt with another woman in our faces. We stay with a man who calls us bad names or who abuses us. We also do things we know are wrong and try to blame them on other people. I know people who when they cheat on their significant other will say, “If he would pay me more attention, I wouldn’t cheat on him. If he told me I was beautiful more, I’d be faithful. If she started to work out, I would be attracted to her and wouldn’t cheat.” The truth is that while we may deserve these things, we should not be untrustworthy and unfaithful to people. We need to be adults and make a choice to do right and/or end the relationship.
So when I find myself acting dumber than the dumbest of animals, I use an exercise in a book that I’m currently reading that helps me take responsibility for my foolish actions. It’s hard to do this exercise and then continue to do things that are detrimental to your well-being. This is commonly known as part of the Gestalt therapy I believe. I notice that the more specific you get, the harder it will become to follow through because you see how stupid and foolish you are behaving. Here are several good examples:
“Right now I am choosing not to correct the job that I know I have done sloppily – and I take responsibility for that.”
“Right now I am choosing to procrastinate rather than confront an issue with my friend/spouse/employee/employer/colleague that I know needs to be confronted – and I take responsibility for that.”
“Right now I am choosing to pretend a love that I do not feel – and I take responsibility for that.”
“Right now I am choosing to steal this money from my guest’s handbag – and I take responsibility for that.”
“Right now I am choosing not to do the work I promised my boss I would do, and I plan to alibi later – and I take responsibility for that.”
“Right now I am choosing to stay at home and feel sorry for myself rather than go out and look for a job – and I take responsibility for that.”
“Right now I am choosing not to deal with the look of pain in my child’s eyes – and I take responsibility for that.”
“Right now I am choosing to head over to the house of my mistress to cheat on my wife when I know that it will hurt her, my marriage, and my children when the secret gets out – and I take responsibility for that.”
“Right now I am choosing to make up an excuse not to go to church today – and I take responsibility for that.”
“Right now I am choosing to succumb to peer pressure regarding robbing this innocent family’s home – and I take responsibility for that.”
“Right now I am choosing to break the law and buy marijuana even though it is illegal, goes against my spiritual values, and will have a negative effect on my self-respect and relationship with God – and I take responsibility for that.”
“Right now I am choosing to drink this bottle of Vodka and get sloppy drunk knowing that I will embarrass myself and my friends and may go home with a total stranger and risk an unwanted pregnancy, an STD, and a broken heart when he doesn’t call – and I take responsibility for that.”
Acknowledge the harm that you are choosing to do to yourself and others. Then recognize that it is only about to occur because of a choice you are deciding to make. Then take responsibility for your actions, whether or not you want to follow through on it, and the consequences that may result because of it. You are an adult with a choice. You CHOOSE to do the things you do, just as someone else with similar life circumstance may choose NOT to do the things you do. We humans need to start being adults about our business. We know right from wrong. Try the exercise when you feel yourself about to make an unhealthy choice, and I bet you will start to feel hesistant about doing it. Sure there are more influencing factors when it comes to making some bad choices, but for the most part it’s not as hard a choice to make as we think.
The moral of the story: You are much more intelligent than a rat and a cockroach. Try acting like it.
So what’s it going to be?
“Right now I am choosing to ignore the helpful advice that I have learned from this post and pretend as if I don’t know any better because it would be much easier to continue doing wrong and blaming them on other things – and I take responsibility for that.”
“Right now I am choosing to take in any helpful advice that I have learned from this post and will be more considerate of my body and life – and I take responsibility for that.”