Rituals Need Moderation and Understanding
I previously discussed the importance of rituals in our lives. After thinking about it a little more I thought I should also touch on some concerns I have about rituals. There are some things that we need to think about so that rituals don’t rule our lives negatively. I’m not necessarily saying rituals are bad. I am saying we need to be aware of the impact rituals have on our lives.
1. Don’t let rituals stop us from trying new things. Rituals can cause us to become set in a particular way of doing things. We may no longer be able to look at new ways of doing things; ways that might help improve our lives or make them less stressful. Keep an open mind about letting go of rituals that impact our lives in an unhealthy way. Having a turkey on Thanksgiving may not create a problem for us. Continuing to invite thirty relatives over each Thanksgiving, knowing how stressful it will be, may not be the best for us.
2. Rituals can create complacency. Sometimes, we rely on rituals to take the place of our motivational energy. We carry on the rituals so we don’t need to think about what we are doing. We can become lethargic and begin to lack motivation focus in our activities.
3. We can forget why we do certain rituals. Over time we forget about the reasons behind certain rituals and no longer look at the true meanings of why we carry on rituals. We are now carrying on a task without a true purpose. Always keep the meaning behind the ritual present in our mind; stay mentally connected to our rituals.
4. What do rituals mean in our lives? We should continually ask ourselves how the use of certain rituals impact our lives with whether we are better off without them. Make sure to be aware of how specific rituals improve our lives and not how they detract from our quality of life.
5. Have we lost the connection of the ritual to our actions? We shouldn’t become automatons, no longer thinking through what we are actually doing. Don’t justify actions by calling them rituals. Bare actions may be just that, random unnecessary tasks that we try to elevate by thinking of them as rituals.
6. Rituals can adversely impact our emotional state. Sometimes we become tied to rituals that put us on an emotional roller coaster. Think about how certain rituals evoke certain emotions. Unpleasant emotions may be letting us know that it is time to let go of those rituals.
7. Rituals can make us compulsive. Are we packing our life with rituals to the exclusion of other healthy activities? Do they put limits on our quality of life by consuming our lives?
Like anything, rituals may work well for us in moderation as long as we understand which rituals we use and why. We shouldn’t allow ourselves to become slaves to ritualistic behavior.