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  • Writer's picturedennisharris04

The Definition of Insanity

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results”, - Albert Einstein. I would suggest truer words have never been spoken when it comes to bad habits, and at some point we have all probably experienced this on a small or large level. For example, I have known couples that will separate, then miss each other, forget what got them there in the first place, and get back together. A little time will pass enjoying each other, having fun, and then more than likely they’ll fall into the same routine that ended everything to begin with. The routine becomes so commonplace that we typically don’t feel it until it becomes bad, draining, and starts to cause problems. That is why I think it is so important to keep reinventing yourself, looking for new things to learn, and bringing something a little different to the table. Each of us should be doing that for ourselves, even if we aren’t trying to save a relationship. If you do it for the other person, eventually resentment will come from that, and then it is only prolonging an evitable ending, or worse, a very unhealthy relationship for however long it gets drug out…What kind of life is that?

We all have things to work on, to grow from and we must choose to embrace those things by working on them as a desire to become better. That being said, if you are in a relationship you must also find the courage to support your partner in change and growth. It may be a struggle, but the best relationships somehow find a way to help each other through adversity and support when one or both of them are struggling. If all you do is pick out faults about each other, or one partner just takes the other’s baggage all the time, it is doomed to failure. This is a real struggle if you are looking for healthy longevity, it takes being truthful with yourself and your partner. Some people find that a very difficult thing to do, but I think it is something that can be done if you care enough.

I may not have done a lot of things in pursuit of bettering myself if I didn’t completely love my partner and genuinely care about my relationship. I take marriage seriously and because of how poorly I saw it managed as a kid, I wanted to be sure it was right on so many levels. It has been, but not without both calm and stormy waters. You have to fully embrace the situation to navigate rough waters when it seems the answers aren’t coming. Do your best when you argue to try and step out of the situation and look at both points of view. This tends to be the part where a lot of people struggle. Maybe they make up, even have a little sexy time to celebrate, then fall right back into the same routine. Stop the insanity! With the exception of sexy time…

This is the point where we need to really dig deep and share to figure out what each person needs and then the support for one another can come. I always tell my wife when I’m struggling with the fact I don’t have enough challenges happening in my life, she knows I’m not always good at sitting idle. Add in a week of stress, not enough positive challenges, one too many adult beverages and I can be a hard person to be around, which is not an easy thing to admit. I have been working on noticing the signs during a tough week and recognizing that I need to take the time to feel that I am not in a good place. The idea is to prevent unfortunate situations when I am around people that don’t deserve the brunt of whatever I am enduring. That takes being honest with yourself, knowing it is okay to have things about you that need work and having a good support system in place. That goes both ways, I’m simply sharing a little of my side of things. If any relationship is worth it, you must be willing to grow and change, allowing for some compromise.

By no means am I suggesting that people should completely change. For one, I don’t think anyone completely changes at their core. The second thing is if your relationship was initially built on a good foundation, the rest of it may just need a few renos. Think about it like a house with a good foundation, good structure, a good layout, and perhaps all it needs is some updates. If you are that couple that comes home, sits in front of the TV, and says nothing to each other, try turning it off and going for a walk. Maybe even talk and hold hands like you probably did when you first started dating. I look at it like adding some adventure, and doing something small that becomes bigger, because you look forward to it.

If you are dealing with serious issues, the stigma of asking for help nowadays is not the same as in the past when it may have been regarded as weak. It is far more accepted. I think of it like when professional athletes hire a coach to improve their swing or throw, or maybe even see a sports psychologist, and nobody says anything. Sometimes you will have announcers even mentioning it and complementing it. So why do we get judgemental when someone shares they are seeing someone for help to better themselves? Personal development and saving a good marriage seem far more important than a Pro Athlete trying to get a few percentages better. There are a few things I would say about seeking professional help, choose a professional that you relate to, and I don’t mean one that agrees with everything you say. I do not mean the ones that sit there, nod and say,” how does that make you feel?’ and nothing else. Get one that makes you do the work and helps you dig in. It is the same thing I would tell you if you are searching for self-defense or Martial Arts Instructor, do your research. One that doesn’t let you watch before you sign up, or gives out a Black Belt in a couple of months is not good…I find it interesting that more people don’t see it that way. People will research cars, even things like handbags and other material things. So why don’t they put that kind of effort in when it comes to self investment? It is one of the most important things, in my opinion. Examples would be couples who have financial wealth and somehow lost each other on the way to the top of the mountain. How about famous people who achieved all kinds of wealth and fame, but seem unhappy. Check out some of Jim Carrey’s latest interviews on this topic.

True balance can never be perfectly attained, but a harmonious life can. I found the more I dug into myself, started breaking up routine, searching for new things to learn, writing more, I started to have a more complete and whole version of myself to offer to my family and friends. That is not a destination, it is a journey that I sometimes still struggle with, probably always will on some level. As long as I am willing to listen, ask for help, give help and support, continue to have the courage to keep self-reflection as part of my path no matter how hard, the good I offer will always outweigh the bad. What we bring to the table is important for ourselves and everyone that makes up our personal village. I have a lot of people who just window shop when they look at my life when it comes to what they see. The part people don’t see is the work I have to put in for myself, my family, and trying to make sure my relationships are things that I do not take for granted, no matter how big or small in my life. None of that is easy, but it is achievable, as long as honesty and hard work are not something that is shied away from.

I have a hard time being around people where it seems every time you talk to them it is never about just catching up and having a great conversation. It seems to be about that person’s latest problem, that life isn’t fair and that person is always the one who never seems to change the routine. It is exhausting. I don’t understand why people like to remain stagnant, never trying something new or exciting or looking for ways to better themselves. I know what you are going to say,” it’s hard”. You're right, but nothing worthwhile ever came from something easy. Years will go by and the things that came easy will be the memories that will fade quickly.

What if I told you that there were two paths to the top of a mountain? Think about that mountain as if it were your life, one path had adventure, adversity, crazy experiences, reward, heartbreak, success, failure, exhaustion along the way to the top. The other will take longer, wind around, you become familiar with a lot of the area, it will be safer, there may be some success, a little failure and you will get to the top of the mountain eventually. Oh yeah, the top of the mountain is not a gauge of success, but the end of your life. Now you get to look down with reflection, only see where you came from. If those two paths were a book, which one would you buy? It is all about making memories, not regrets… So why do we let our circumstances get stale? Do not get me wrong, there is a difference between a reckless life and a life full of enriched experiences.

I find it interesting that there are people that grow up in an area, stay there, raise families there, and never really leave. It is good to have familiar roots, but have you heard the phrase, “home is where the heart is”? I know my home will be wherever my wife and boys are, where my true friends are, it will be there no matter how much time and distance has passed. When you figure all that out, you will expect more out of yourself and life. Doing the same thing over and over again, unless it is something of value, will not be enough. Getting old and passing the time with someone you love, is not the same as creating new adventures together. Missing someone, getting back together, not bringing new things, and being willing to just do the same thing is setting yourself up for failure. I often joke with my wife and say at least I am not boring, as we navigate whatever good or bad adventures. People who window shop our relationship, have often said,” you're lucky” and we are, but we work at it…. Neither one of us are the same as we were in the beginning, we don’t have the same careers, we have kids now, family dogs have come and gone, homes have been bought and sold, a few moves made and we are still building while we enjoy the journey. I wouldn’t change any of it, except for a few moments we could have done without. Nothing that would give me pause or cause me to wonder whether we had done things right.

If you would have asked in my twenties if I saw myself with a family, I probably wouldn’t have even answered. I followed my heart and at that point, my heart was in recovery from the past and couldn’t picture anything like that. I kept reinventing myself in each situation and was in constant pursuit of making the next moment better. I think we owe it to ourselves to never stop wanting to feel alive, present, happy, and in love with who we are with, but never compromising happiness for ourselves or the people we care about. The answers are simple, if the first try didn’t work, do something different. If you need a routine, let change be your constant. Let your routine be, “what can I add”? How do I want to spice it up? What new things can I learn? Is my village helping me or holding me back? It is cool to see the old classic cars, then have someone fit them with new technology. They have the uniqueness, a swagger that everyone will stop to check out, and they are way more reliable after a few tweaks. If you're picking up what I am laying down…

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