One Good Habit Can Save You

New Hope Counseling, PLLC

'Unleashing the Peace Within'. Vol. 1 Ed.3


Habits, good and bad, are things that are formed over time. To begin with, they are deliberate and willfully chosen behaviors, yet over time they become easier to perform, and even second nature, which causes them to be more binding upon. Good habits seem to be broken easier than bad habits; nevertheless they can be broken, cast aside, discarded, or worse, never even formed at all. 

The topic of habits has been greatly on my mind as I reflected over what was to be the theme of this month's newsletter. Perhaps due to the New Year and the concept of a fresh start, where traditionally goals are made and then so easily cast aside, or due to seeing the routine suffering and heartfelt challenges of multiple people, suicides, breakups, loss of jobs, and failure, including my own emotional highs and lows, this topic has continually resurfaced for me. 

In this newsletter, I'd like to mention a number of good habits to form and take hold of. Good habits, like a lifeline when someone gets washed overboard while at sea, can save us from long term despair and even bad fortune. One good habit in particular, which I shall mention later, is a solid foundation upon which to build at all times and can actually save you, not once but repeatedly. 


The Intuition Habit

One good habit to get into is to pay attention to your 'intuition'. For example, In reflecting over this newsletter edition, the non-forced thought of 'good habits' kept on calling my attention. I could have ignored such a thing, but why? Instead, I have learned to pay attention to my 'intuition'. It is there for a reason, even if I don't always understand it. 

Some people may say they don't have 'intuition', that its a female thing, or something similar where they discount their possession of this innate quality. To them I would say, Nuh-uh! You have intuition! You may have just gotten into the 'bad habit' of ignoring it. When  you ignore it, your ability to hear it diminishes, though never fully disappearing.  Because it never fully vanishes, you can learn to listen to it again and, when you do, you will find you feel ... better. 

The Foundation of Reflection

Traditionally we save the best for last, but I'll share it now. As I have sorted through and tried to prioritize habits, the one habit that has been on my mind the most - the one I have personally found to be the most helpful - is the habit of 'reflection'. Reflection can mean many things. It can mean what some people call meditation, pondering, recollection, recitation, or even repetition. When I use reflection, I mean the deliberate calling to my attention of something I have memorized (it could be a thought, a quote, or anything which I found to be meaningful and positively emotionally impactful to me personally).

When I have a few moments to spare, such as while driving to work, upon waking up first thing in the morning, or the last thing before my eyelids close at night, I draw upon various memorized poems or statements, and repeat them from memory - or when I can't remember them, but my 'intuition' has brought the verses to mind, then I pull out my notes and review the written form. I then 'reflect; upon the words and their meaning. 

If I am in a bad mood, I find that such reflection has the power to recenter me, to remind me of who I am and what I hold to be true. This, of itself, is often enough to snap be back to myself. If nothing is wrong and I feel fine, such reflection is a good habit to continue and hold to, like mowing the grass weekly, making my bed in the morning, or picking up after myself. It is good of itself as it builds inner emotional muscles of resiliency. Such inner resiliency is like a savings account, where money is stored for an emergency time of need. I have found those inner developed muscles are later useful when the world has high-jacked my mind, when I become afraid, angry, doubtful or despairing. Such reflection buoys me up in an ocean of rough waters.

If I had to pinpoint one habit that has made me who I am today, I would say it is this one, this practice of inward looking and searching, and recollection of words that I recite. Because of this, all other habits are reinforced. Because of this, my intuition is enhanced and I can discern between good and bad emotional energies with greater precision.  Because of this habit, I am a better listener, feeler, and over all person.

I commend this habit to you. 

The Habit of Enduring Hope

Believe it or not, developing hope is a habit. It is easy to hope when everything is going right, when the job is solid, and all the bills are paid, when your children are happy, and everything is going right. It is a totally different matter when everything has gone wrong. Then hope seems to run and hide, like a good friend who has left you alone when a gang of bullies pins you against the wall and then proceeds to pummel you. 

Someone once said, "Hope is a great breakfast, but a lean dinner". Maybe that's true for some, but not for the die-hard 'believer'. Then hope is the only dinner, a glorious dinner, and one that never ends. Think of Winston Churchill in England's darkest hour, during the horrors of World War II. We always need someone to believe during those bleakest of hours. Why not let that person be you?

Developing hope in dark moments is actually a great virtue. Developing the habit of hope, especially in dark moments, prevents you from developing the 'deer in the headlights' effect when the headlights of life's challenges come at you. If you have developed the habit of hope, you see the headlights and are able to shake off the trauma of the event and do the prudent and wise thing. The prudent and wise thing cannot be seen when there is no hope. It is not possible! (To understand this better, I invite you to explore the concept of 'State Dependent Change', found in my online book store which can be reached by clicking this sections header.)

The Habit of One-sided Listening

As I am writing this newsletter I am noting that another name for habit is 'skill'. These reviewed habits are actually resiliency skills which aid a person in facing and confronting all of life's challenges. So far, all of the habits I have address have been one's that have to do with one's own self, as he or she see's self in relation to life and the world around him or her. There is one final habit or skill I will share with you, and it perhaps is one of the hardest skills yet to learn. It is a skill that has to do with relationships. I will simply call it 'one-sided listening'. We could also call it 'love'. 

The habit of one-sided listening is the ability to completely pause one's own self, his or her own needs being placed on the back burner, and to listen to another's heart. Yes, it involves hearing the words that proceed from the open mouth, words which are crafted by the mind, but it goes much beyond that: such listening involves seeing with the other persons eyes, feeling what their heart feels, and understanding how the other person sees the world. To do this, all judgment must be suspended. Judgment prevents such listening. To do this, the other person has to be believed in and loved, rather than feared. Who in their right mind would jump head first into a black pit which contains snakes, spikes, and poison? No one! You cannot truly listen with one-sided listening, unless you are not afraid of the person you're listening to, which means you fundamentally accept their innate (intuitive?) goodness. You cannot listen with one-sided listening unless you truly love someone else. 

This is a great skill to practice! It involves using the skills of 'reflective listening' (hearing what others are saying and repeating back to them the emotional substance of what they have just said, sometimes word for word, and doing so without personal commentary or jabs). It also involves trying to understand that another person may see things differently than you. What you may personally hate and despise, someone else may think is the greatest thing ever - like sliced bread.

One-sided listening involves recognizing that nothing is 'real' of itself and that all things are instead symbols - symbols which mean something private to the one being listened to, symbols which are also neither bad nor good.  Yet, if we connect with the emotion behind the symbol and connect it with something similar we ourselves have felt, then we see truly. (This could be called empathy, but I think it goes much deeper!) To you, it may just be a doll they are talking about, an empty hollow plastic thing, but to them it is a childhood best friend. To you, your partner may be 'hoarding', but to them they are holding on to things when all other things have been taken from them against their will. 

We can only truly understand these things if we develop the capacity for one-sided listening. Unfortunately, the capacity to do this is rarer than diamonds. It is very possible that most people who are reading this, may never have themselves experienced such a thing. How can we love another, when we ourselves have not been loved? 

We can start by listening to our own needs, connecting with our own intuition, and loving ourselves. Let me conclude this section by sharing a movie quote. 

"When you see your own uniqueness as a virtue, only then can you know peace." - Ghost in the Shell


I Have Disappeared!

I have disappeared/ In hearing someone else loved/ Except for my ears

With my ears I see/ Things as the loved one sees them/ When they see with heart

My own opinion/ Becomes unnecessary/ I only need ears

My ears tell me all/ Everything I need to know/ About my loved one

Truth as they see it/ Without needing to change it/ Through use of my tongue


My hands aren't needed/ For there is nothing to fix/ The truth needs no mend

My feet aren't needed/ There is nothing to run from/ I am not present

My body is gone/ Transformed into an earpiece/ Through which I focus

Then I see the truth/ The beauty of the one seen/ I become their friend

A friend to their truth/ For their truth is not my foe/ For I am not there

Love doesn't require/ The presence of my body/ Just my ears and heart

The Habit of Seeing the Good in Yourself and Others

As I was wrapping up this month's newsletter, intuition tapped on my shoulder. It told me to be careful of jumping into black pits of despair. On the day of this writing, I learned about the suicide of a former client, a very sad event. In the same week I have learned of another client whose ex-husband also committed suicide. If you take what I applied above about one-sided listening and apply it to someone who is in a darkened and despair state of mind, then you are jumping into a black pit of despair - the one with snakes, spikes, and poison.

There is one other habit that you MUST develop to be able to endure one-sided listening with such a person, and that is to see people as they truly are - and that means to see them through the eyes of love. I believe that who a person really is, is who they are when they are devoid of all fear. When does such a person exist? Such a person exists when they are in love or when they are loved by another. Love sees a person's fundamental goodness, a goodness which is with them from the very beginning. It is not developed or given to one person by another. It is already there by nature. You cannot create and give another person their goodness. Parents don't create this in their children. Loved one's don't make their partners better. Those beliefs are lies and illusions put upon us by a vain and tiresome world. That goodness already there!

A good habit to develop is to recognize that unless you see people as wonderful and vibrant, that you see a false them, someone worn down and beaten by the world. You see and perceive a person who has believed a lie about themselves, which you yourself may be tempted to believe. Don't believe the lie! And don't allow loved one's to believe it either. When they doubt themselves, then believe in them ... and their innate and fundamental goodness. 


Unless you see them/ As wonderful and vibrant/ You see a 'false' them

Someone claimed by lies/ Lies which have possessed their minds/ And have bound their hearts

So, be not deceived/ Not even by their own views/ Of how they see selves

They are not the lie/ At least not fully - not yet/

They can still be saved

Saved while there is life/ Just as you too can be saved/ You are not the lie

The lies of dark fear/ The lies of numbers and math/ The lies of 'normal'

And being like 'them'/ Light is the truth of our being/ Beneath all the lies

So, unless we see/ With an eye and heart of light/ We see not clearly

A Free Gift: How to Love Yourself

Intuition also now tells me that I have something to offer, and to do so for free. I put together a 38 page PDF book on the topic of 'How to Love Yourself', a sorely needed commodity in the world. Click the button below (the one that says 'Click me')  and you shall be directed to the book which can be down loaded. In it, I discuss five innate qualities, not given to you but had by virtue of your existence, which make you fundamentally good ... and inherently lovable. In one of those chapters I even talk about developing on of the habits I mentioned here - in fact, the number one most profound habit of 'reflection'. 

This book is my gift to you - because I believe in you! If you enjoy it, let me know. Also, if you have troubles receiving it, let me know. I can get it to you through other routes

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Good Habits Start with a Belief in Yourself

In the end, everything written here is about you, and how good habits make you a better you (which is all you need to be), and bring you back to you true self . The navigation of life's journey requires us to develop good habits; good habits such as trusting your intuition, self reflection, developing enduring hope, and one-sided listening! Remember, we are not meant to face life alone and unaided. There are always answers, if we open our eyes and look for them. I am always here to help. Just a phone call, email, or text message away.  Reach out when you need to, okay? 

Till next time!

Dennis Tucker, LCSW Therapist/Owner

New Hope Counseling, PLLC

9176 S. 300 W. STE 13, Sandy UT 84070

(801) 979-0610