I recently had a big AHA! moment.
I know this sounds silly, but it came when I realized, “you know what? life is just to damn precious to waste time drinking coffee that I don’t really like.”
Silly, I know. But it really did hit me all of a sudden that this “preference” I had, up ’til then, held for french roast coffee (the darkest roast available), was not really my preference at all.
You see, I had been flirting for a while with drinking medium roast coffee and all of a sudden it just hit me like, “BAM! I like this better!” Moreover, I realized that I had been subconsciously detesting the taste of french roast for a while, but had been in denial of this because I had for so many years just accepted that “I like dark roast”.
But when the momentum of my growing appreciation for something fruitier, subtler, with warmer notes and less acidity became unstoppable, culminating in that lightning bolt from the sky that declared forever more that, “I AM NOW A MEDIUM ROAST DRINKER”, well, when that happened it also hit me that my supposed preference for bitter, burnt tasting coffee came from my folks.
In my house growing up it always french roast. Always.
I had developed my preference simply because that’s what was around.
This is a great parable for relationships in general I think.
When we grow up in a abusive home, like I did, we cultivate and embed neural pathways and nervous system management strategies that help us navigate the stress of our experience. Then we subconsciously just accept that, “this is the way it is”.
The understandings of the detrimental effects of childhood trauma on the nervous system and brain, and in health and well-being as an adult, have only recently been understood. Google the ACE (Adverse Childhood Experience) study for the science.
The point is that we all form conscious and subconscious preferences for certain experiences and behaviors that support the particular physiology we have developed and, in the case of traumatized individuals, those preferences are often for things that don’t actually serve us that well, in terms of our wholeness and health.
When we start to heal, we may find that our preferences for certain types of food, entertainment, environments, and even people may change.
We may realize, “you know what, I don’t actually LIKE being in a relationship with someone who doesn’t support me or express care and compassion”. And when we realize something like that, it’s so important that we muster the courage to leave those old desires, and even people, behind.
When we do, there is always something waiting for us that is better, that will more effectively serve our unfolding into a new, more integrated and healthy way of being.
Whether it be a new career, exercise routine, relationship, or city, it’s so important that we heed the advice of what our body tells us about what it really needs and wants.
Even if it’s something as simple as a damn fine cup of coffee.