Consistency in Today’s World?
Consistency can be defined as adherence to the same principles, course, etc. Why is this concept so hard for us to grasp, much less maintain? From my perspective, it involves a number of factors – age, attitude, persistence, self-discipline, responsibility, and lifestyle, to name a few. As with other things, it can lead to boredom – when practiced in the extreme. But, for now, let’s just assume we need more of it – not less.
We are told it is a key tool in training children and animals – so they know what to expect, each and every time. That can lead to a sense of security, setting boundaries, and creating stability. Ok, I will say that in the 1950’s, consistency was practiced and approved generally in society, especially in America. Vector forward to 2016 and our life today – the changes in technology alone have created massive distractions and a new conformity for us – some would say new addictions. Just observe people in restaurants, each holding their telephones like a lifeline – no verbal conversation unless the wait staff appears to ask about menu selections.
Are we happier, more content, peaceful, and introspective? Or have we lost something valuable, something that can give our lives meaning, richness, and a lasting sense of community? If that is the case, how do we change? First, we start where we are – right now. We pick one thing – one element of our lives – and focus on that and only that. It can be as simple as setting a rule for meals without technology – of any kind. At first, there may be a lot of silence, but gradually, with practice, verbal conversations can take place. That may be part of the message coming across from the TV Show, Bluebloods. Every Sunday the entire family, three generations, sits down to eat a meal after church. Their discussions are anything but boring, with subtle boundaries in place. How long has it been since we practiced that habit?
How do we control the distractions in our lives? First we have to look honestly at how we are spending our time. The intention of spending five minutes on Facebook or Pinterest can easily run an hour or more. It is so much easier to give into instant gratification isn’t it? The next step is to change the pattern – set a timer on your phone for a reasonable time to “play”. When it goes off, respect the boundary you have set for yourself.
With the pace of our lives, how are we combating the ‘fight or flight’ impulse of thinking we have to react to life with urgency? Think about how long has it been since you had daily quiet time – just time to be you? This can be as simple as setting a timer for five to fifteen minutes, away from others. Make time to take a quick power nap, day dream about a trip you would like to take, walk your dog – you get the idea.
With practice, patience, and self – discipline, I believe we can shape a new pattern of consistency that will bring us peace and joy, creating contentment we were perhaps not aware we had lost.