Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Step 3 - Love What You Hate

I wrote a short post a few weeks ago entitled Love what you Hate, but I thought I'd expand on it a little here as I think it's an important part of the 30 Steps to Happiness and Contentment I'm currently writing as part of the National Blog Post Month.

The premise is that if there's something you have to do, but you really don't want to, just tell yourself you love it and you'll find it's much easier to do - you might even find you enjoy it!

Why do we dislike doing certain tasks anyway?  I came to the conclusion recently that we often condition ourselves to dislike things - perhaps from learnt behavioral patterns of our parents or friends.  Here's what helped me come to this conclusion:

Someone I know, we'll call him Bill, became very seriously ill last year.  He's in his late 60's and was showing signs of senile dementia - forgetting things, dropping things etc, but it was getting rapidly worse.  Within a few months he was in hospital and very seriously ill.  The doctors found that he had a rare condition which affected his brain and he went through several months of various experimental and pioneering processes.  It was an extremely worrying time for his family, but thankfully they managed to cure him.

It was with great relief that Bill returned home, but one of the consequences of the illness was, he had lost his memory.  He'd forgotten how to do simple things like how to make a cup of tea, he didn't know his family and he didn't know himself.  Luckily this wasn't permanent and gradually over the following months his memory returned.

Before his illness he had certain things he liked and didn't like (don't we all).  For example, like most men, he hated shopping but, much to his wife's delight, he'd forgotten this.  He happily accompanied her and even said he enjoyed it.  He had no recollection of the fact that he used to detest shopping and would normally stay at home or in the car during her frequent trips.  I found this fact very interesting.  It could be argued that the illness had changed him, but to me it demonstrated that maybe we condition ourselves to believe that we don't like doing certain things either from learned experiences or by internalising the opinions of others. How many times have you heard a man say he hates shopping!  The perceived dislike stops us from doing certain things, but if we forgot about the processes that had brought about this belief then we could actually find that we enjoy what we thought we hated!

If this is the case, and we condition ourselves to dislike certain things, we could be restricting ourselves from doing things we may actually enjoy.  So, it would follow that if we can teach ourselves to not like something then, we can also teach ourselves to like it.

So, as I intimated in my previous post, I tried this theory out for myself and found it worked.  If there's something I really don't want to do, but have to, I always try to get psyched up by telling myself I'm looking forward to it or I really want to do it.  It works for me - why don't you give it a try!

Here's my other posts so far in this series:
Step 30 - The Key to Happiness and Contentment
Step 29 -You are the master of your own destiny
Step 28 - Don't give up on a good relationship
Step 27 - Don't Judge , Live and let live
Step 26 - Don't Worry, by happy
Step 25 - Never give up
Step 24 - Get by with a little help from your friends
Step 23 - Go with the Flow
Step 22 - Enjoy the moment
Step 21 - Love what you do
Step 20 - Forgive and Forget
Step 19 - Unconditional giving
Step 18 - Smile and the world smiles with you
Step 17 - Work to live, don't live to work
Step 16 - Surround yourself with Positive People
Step 15 - Always look on the bright side of life
Step 14 - Where there's a will there's a way
Step 13 - Silence is Golden
Step 12 - Feed your Soul
Step 11 - Follow your Dreams
Step 10 - Use your time wisely
Step 9 - Don't be too hard on yourself
Step 8 - Consider what you value most
Step 7 - Find time for Yourself
Step 6 - Make time for Family and Friends
Step 5 - Don't take yourself too Seriously
Step 4 - Feel the Fear and do it Anyway
Step 3 - Love what you Hate
Step 2 - There's no such word as CAN''T
Step 1 - Find the Best in Every Day

If you liked this, you might be interested to read my first post on Love What You Hate


  1. I tried telling myself that I enjoy cleaning the toilet but somehow I never believe myslef.

  2. @ Midlife Singlemum, maybe you should tell yourself how much you love seeing the toilet sparkling clean ;)

  3. I'm using a similar psychology in my slimming...I love not eating that cake because it will make me slimmer to not eat it! Turning things on their head can work!! x

  4. Thats an excellent application of the principle Inside the Wenday House. Thanks and good luck with the slimming :)

  5. That's an interesting theory and one that I will try out (although not with eating celery;)

  6. Yeah Nikki - as per your comment above, it's great to see things in terms of the positive benefits your actions will bring..... have to admit though, despite all of this I have made a conscious decision not to apply any positive thinking to ironing... I choose to do other stuff instead ;-)

  7. @Fiona, yes ironing is probably one of my least favourite tasks too and something to be avoided at all costs!

    @ Sarah - did you know that celery is considered to have minus calories - it's said that it takes more calories to digest celery than you gain by eating it. Couldn't that maybe persuade you to love it, or maybe even like it just a little bit??