“You were put on this earth to achieve your greatest self, to live out your purpose, and to do it courageously.”
Yesterday evening, I listened to a conversation between two friends of mine discussing whether casual sex is a problem.
One of them felt shame and regret every time she had a one night stand; the other one, who engaged in exactly the same behavior, felt happy and renewed.
This dilemma comes to us in many different ways.
‘’Is it a problem that I eat a lot of ice-cream on Friday nights?’'
‘’Are my workouts healthy or am I addicted?''
Well, the easiest way to find out whether or not the ’’habit” you are concerned about is problematic is to ask yourself two questions:
1. Does It Cause Personal Distress?
If the activity is weighing on your mind and causing you to feel shame or guilt, it is a problem.
Let’s take the issue of casual sex as an example. If the person feels shame and regret after a one-night stand, then that behavior is a problem for him/her, as the negative emotions are impacting that person's quality of life. Another person may engage in exactly the same behavior and feel happy.
For one person casual sex is an issue, for another, it’s a source of happiness.
Casual sex itself may not cause a person to feel distressed. However, if you find yourself avoiding a colleague or two at work, it’s likely a problematic behavior. This problem needs to be addressed in order to not let it decrease the quality of life.
2. Does It Impact Your Daily Functioning?
Sometimes negative behavior does not cause someone distress, yet still might get in the way of the daily functioning.
Another friend of mine, a 31-year-old investment banker works out two to three hours every day. His wife is concerned that it has become borderline obsessive. In turn, he confronts her saying that he enjoys greatly the time at the gym and results of his efforts. He feels good when exercising and stressed when not. The only way to understand if his workouts became a problem is to look at how they impact his daily life. Is his exercising causing him to neglect his work? Spend less time with family and friends, and, most importantly, feel guilty about it? If so, then it is a problem that should be addressed.
If you are one of us, who constantly in doubts whether our habits are good or harmful - the only way to understand if you are facing the ultimate problem is -
Start asking yourself these two simple questions and give yourself an honest answer.