What are the habits you have that diminish you?
It’s not so difficult to find out what they are. You’ll probably do them automatically, without thinking. They’ll soothe you in some way. And they’ll leave you afterwards with the vaguely queasy feeling of having wasted your time – they’re distracting rather than nourishing, numbing rather than enlivening, they cover up what’s going on rather than have you face it, and they have you turn away from genuine connection with yourself and with other people.
A few candidates for you to consider:
checking your email in between other activities
checking your email in the middle of other activities
browsing facebook just in case there’s something interesting
scanning and rescanning the news headlines
or the weather report
eating whatever comes to hand
breaking off repeatedly to grab snacks or drinks
clenching your jaw, or tensing your shoulders
booking back to back meetings (because they need me there)
editing and re-editing your ‘to do’ list
flicking from website to website
flicking from tv channel to tv channel
checking your email again
Each time you’re turning away from life, because you don’t want to have to feel whatever life is bringing you – perhaps anxiety, or boredom, or fear, or your tiredness, or being seen by others, or maybe even joy – and in turning away you’re profoundly reducing your capacity to engage.
For the moment, you’re soothed. But when you look back at the hundreds, thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of times that you’ve checked out in this way, can you honestly say it adds up to anything you care about?