Like Begets Like

I had myself a good brainstorming session yesterday afternoon. I had a few ideas for new writing projects leftover from when I dropped most other things to finish up my book. However, I've done what I can with those, and now I need something else to work on. So I sat down at my desk and started looking at research articles, at magazines, at a strange array of content both online and off.

I started the session utterly stumped as to what I would work on next. Either I had already eliminated the topic as a possibility or someone else had already written about it or there was something else that meant it just wouldn't work. But then I got one idea, and then another, and then it was a flood. I was practically drowning in good ideas.

It led me to better formulate one of my Rules of Life: like begets like. One idea begets another idea. Cleaning one room means I'm more likely to clean another. Practicing recovery behaviors makes me want to do even more recovery-oriented actions. The flipside is also true: engaging in the eating disorder means I want to do more disordered behaviors.

Like begets like.

Some of it is momentum, or even cadence. Life has a rhythm. It's now normal for me to wake up, brew the coffee, and eat breakfast. Eating breakfast today makes me ready to eat breakfast tomorrow. Skipping breakfast today makes me want to skip tomorrow.

Life builds on itself. Today's breakfast not only means that I'm more likely to eat breakfast tomorrow, it means that I'm more likely to want to eat breakfast tomorrow. It's that little ping of dopamine when we do something well. It's the foundation for later actions. Sitting and ruminating about why my life sucked only brought more suckiness into my life. That's all I could see, all I could think about. I didn't have enough space in my brain for anything else.

Not that I don't ruminate and perseverate now (believe me, I do!) but I try to keep it in check. Like begets like.

I'm not saying that if you think happy things then only happy things will happen. I know that's total BS. What I am saying is that the more you do something, the more likely you are to bring similar things into your life. Want to be a painter? Start painting. Want recovery? Start practicing recovery behaviors. This especially works if you want to want recovery. Like everything else, your recovery will build on itself. You've got to start somewhere.


hm said...

Nicely put. You are on such a good path. :)

Abby said...

Agreed. It took me a long time as a writer to realize my first draft was just that-a draft. It didn't have to be perfect and throwing a bunch of random thoughts and phrases down on paper might not be a masterpiece, but at least it's a foundation to build from. Progress, not perfection. It's that way with everything, but you have to be willing to take that first (and next) healthy step.

Good reminder, as always.

tlbflowllc said...

This is such a great post. A lot of times life is a series of habits and we have to chose which habits we would like to keep, which we would like to cut off and what new ones we need to make. This makes me think of every action and every day as significant because it all affects our next action and our next day. Thanks for writing the simple and making it so profound. We all need reminders.

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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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nour·ish: (v); to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth; to cherish, foster, keep alive; to strengthen, build up, or promote


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