Vises. Depravity. Immoral habits. We all have them and we would like to get rid of them. The problem is, they’re so damn enjoyable that giving them up is hard to do. Do we really need to quit our bad habits? As human beings, we’re imperfect, so why fight our immorality? What harm will our vices do to us? What can be done to keep ourselves away from them forever? These are the points that this blog post aims to shed light on.
I don’t smoke—that would ensure that I have no pulmonary problems. I do drink, but only on occasions—that about cuts my risk for kidney and liver problems. I watch what I eat; i.e., I don’t take in fats and I don’t overeat—that resolves my risks of contacting gastric problems. I don’t engage in gambling—that secures my finances, no matter how small they may be. I don’t do drugs—that eliminates dependence and other associated illnesses. I don’t mess with girls all around me and engage them in pre-marital sex—that secures me from AIDS, HIV, and sexually transmitted diseases. I do masturbate, but not to the point that it becomes harmful to my health and activities of daily living. However, I must confess that I still have vices that I can’t seem to shake off.
First, I find myself still blurting out white and tall lies, no matter how much I remind myself to stay absolutely truthful. Second, I overspend—as long as I have the money, I definitely have to buy what I want to buy. Next, I feel indifferent towards most societal tragedies and undesirable events. Also, I feel that I have to critic everything and everyone around me—what goes on, what people wear, how things are done, etc.—when I should be looking at their beneficial side, and not at their flaws.
What can be done to shake off our vices?
In a course that I attended, Psychiatric Nursing 101, I learned about operant conditioning. This is a type of teaching-learning method in which a certain behavior or way of doing is either reinforced or discouraged. Reinforcement is in the form of desired rewards, while discouragement is done by giving out punishment. (You may associate this concept to lab rats doing all sorts of experimental activities in return for cheese, but let’s keep it at a humanistic level.)
For example, a six-year-old boy is being taught on cleaning up his room every day. For every time he cleans his room, he is given his favorite snack. Any instance of notcleaning his room would be given a subsequent punishment—it can be some slight scolding or non-provision of his favorite snack. In this instance, the boy has the motivation to clean his room every day: His favorite snack.
We too, can implement operant conditioning when trying to get rid of our vices, only it becomes kind of modified. Take the example of overspending. For every instance that I deposit my money in the bank instead of spending it, I can delight myself in the knowledge that eventually, my savings would grow and I would reap an investment in the form of banking interest.
Another example that I could share would be when me and my friends tried to help this one friend who was famous for being always tardy. So me and my friends decided to hang out at a set time and place. So no one would be late, we made a deal that whoever was late will treat the whole group to lunch at an expensive fast-food place. Lo and behold, our friend who had a record for tardiness showed up early! Evidently, having motivation to get rid of a certain vise, can be helpful.
Motivation! Inspiration! Those are exactly what we need in order to get some order in our vise-infested lives! If you’re a drunkard or someone who drinks hard more often, then your motivation to change would be the knowledge that later in life, you can have kidney failure or liver cirrhosis. If you’re a heavy smoker, your motivation can come from the knowledge that you will eventually contract lung diseases if you don’t stop. Another motivational factor for change in both vises could be your family and friends. The mentioned vises could be affecting your relationship with the significant people in your life.
If you practice unsafe sex with multiple partners, you should know that your risks of acquiring deadly diseases (AIDS, HIV infections) are high. You could not live long enough to enjoy everything around you. The same goes with drug addiction. All those needles that you insert can contain HIV or causative agents of other diseases. Aside from that, you might also be wasting your hard-earned money. Consequently, you might be stealing from society or even from family and friends in order to support your addiction.
For the Betterment of Our Lives
The main inspiration for us to change our ways should be life itself. Wouldn’t you want to extend your life span in order to do more of the things that you have always wanted to do? Don’t you care enough for the people around you, those who are concerned with your conditioned or are affected because of your vises? Wouldn’t you want to be a better person?
Vises may be difficult to get rid off, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t die. We have to put in extra effort and dedication if we truly want to change for the better. The people around us can help us, support us, and be with us every step that we take on the journey to change. But ultimately, everything will start within us, within ourselves. Find the determination within to fight your vises and stick to it until the end.