Forgiving Those Bad Habits

By Katie B. Goode
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Bad Habits


Be kind to people about their bad habits. Yours may be equally disgusting to them.

I think we acquire our habits without much thought, slipping into them like a Freudian glove as children, wearing them into adulthood.

Be it hair twisting, ear tugging, swearing, overeating, toenail picking, or drinking straight out of the juice carton, all of us can lay claim to at least one annoying habit.

Just ask any spouse—or ex-spouse.

In fact, it’s usually the “little things” that morph into marital malcontent. Could being bothered by inconsequential matters, like open cupboard doors or missing toothpaste caps, just be a symptom of larger problems in the relationship?

Unable to talk about the biggies, do we latch onto the small stuff to strike out at our mates and justify our own pulling away from the relationship.

It’s funny how you don’t notice those “little things” when the romantic fires burn bright. It’s when the flames flicker that our faults flame.

I’m not sure how we pick up our bad habits. I like to attach a melodramatic justification to mine. I’m sure I bite my nails because I was denied piano lessons when I was young. Maybe I take out my frustration at not being able to tinkle the ivories on fingers that were denied Bach and Beethoven.

Sometimes it’s just easier to remain a solo and bask in our behavioral quirks rather than give them up—even for love. “Love me, love my dirt swept into the corner of the kitchen” we declare.         

Or if we do decide to take the leap, maybe a line should be added to the wedding vows. “I promise to love, honor, and accept his rotten habits as he accepts mine.”

Sometimes, we try to compromise. “I’ll stop letting the dog eat off our plates if you will stop answering my questions before I ask them.”

But if there’s one thing worse than someone with habits you find repulsive, it’s the mutant whose only apparent vice is… perfection.

You know the type. We’re talking about the weirdo who never leaves dirty dishes in the sink, rotting lettuce in the refrigerator, or underwear on the bathroom floor.

The kind of “place for everything and everything in its place” person who has never had a hair or a kid out of place. Those fabulous folk intolerant of anyone who fails to measure up to their stringent standards. “If I can do it…”

Forget those guys. Give me a guy whose towel hanging form resembles a LeBron James slam dunk any day. He’ll be much more forgiving of my shortcomings.

After all, we, the perfectly imperfect, have to stick together!


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