The good thing about be­ing bad

The Covington News - - Front page -

Most of us are gov­erned by our own set of rules and tend to be­have in so­cially ac­cept­able ways. But mis­be­hav­ing, or act­ing in ways we’d nor­mally think im­proper, can be good for our souls. Mis­be­hav­ior can boost our mood, pro­vide us with a sense of lib­er­a­tion, stim­u­late cre­ativ­ity or make for some great mem­o­ries.

A healthy ap­proach to mis­be­hav­ing, ex­perts agree, is to oc­ca­sion­ally break rules, norms or ex­pec­ta­tions in a man­ner that causes no harm. In this man­ner, we can ex­per­i­ment with roads not taken to en­sure the path we are on is right for us. Mis­be­hav­ior usu­ally af­firms our es­tab­lished ways, but on oc­ca­sion can un­cover a bet­ter di­rec­tion to steer our lives. Ac­cord­ing to Re­becca Web­ber of Psy­chol­ogy To­day, “ If we never mis­be­have, we’ll never know what we are miss­ing… and it could be some­thing great.”

Act­ing im­prop­erly can cause some fear. “ When­ever you do some­thing out of your com­fort zone, you are go­ing to feel anx­i­ety,” says Aaron Seltzer with the William Alan­son White In­sti­tute. The ex­pe­ri­ence of anx­i­ety is not a sign of do­ing some­thing wrong, just counter to your pro­gram­ming. If you re­ally want to ex­pe­ri­ence per­sonal growth and achieve a dif­fer­ent un­der­stand­ing of who you are and who you can be, there aren’t any short­cuts. “ You have to be will­ing to face a chal­lenge that is more than you thought you could han­dle,” says Seltzer. It is this type of “ stretch­ing” that leads to growth and an ex­pan­sion of a per­son’s sense of self.

We can force growth by mak­ing our­selves go to in­tim­i­dat­ing par­ties, or show up at events where we think we don’t be­long. This makes it eas­ier to do it the sec­ond time, and the third time. “ The sense of lib­er­a­tion tends to last much longer than the par­tic­u­lar ex­pe­ri­ence, and ul­ti­mately you’ll be free of any ar­ti­fi­cial con­straints,” states Web­ber.

When stuck in a rut, try one of the fol­low­ing sug­ges­tions from Re­becca Web­ber:

— rum­mage through clos­ets and find some­thing ou­tra­geous to wear to work.

— make up an in­sane story for the next stranger you speak with, such as the tele­mar­keter who calls af­ter din­ner, or the guy sit­ting next to you on the bus.

— Put on cel­e­bra­tory cloth­ing and head for the fan­ci­est ho­tel in town on a Satur­day night.

— In the car, at the park, in a se­cret place…. think like a teenager.

— March into your boss’s of­fice and share your ideas for im­prov­ing the busi­ness.

— Go to se­nior ci­ti­zen’s bingo at the VFW hall or at­tend the home­com­ing game of a lo­cal high school.

— Tell your fam­ily they are on their own for din­ner/ home­work/ laun­dry tonight. In­stead take a bub­ble bath and go to bed at an ob­scenely early hour.

Re­mem­ber, peo­ple who take risks go fur­ther in life. So go out there and start mis­be­hav­ing.

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