Is there a gap between how you are and how you want to be? Change and healing aren't as simple as just wanting to be different.
There's this thing Thich Nhat Hanh calls 'habit energy,' It's the automatic, unconscious energy that can sometimes get us into trouble. Like when your child makes a mess and you overreact. Or when you're running late and start yelling at people who slow you down. Or when you feel sad and reach for a brownie or glass or wine or even a book without even noticing you are trying to distract yourself from the sadness.
With mindfulness, we bring deeper awareness to our habit energy. Looking down at the wine glass, we wonder, 'Why did I just pour this? Am I looking forward to how it tastes with my dinner? Or could I be distracting myself?' Realizing we are criticizing or scolding or gossiping about someone, we stop and get curious about ourselves, 'What am I feeling?'
Rather than pushing ourselves harder to be 'good' or disciplined, it can help to soften and bring curious, loving attention to the things we do that we wish we didn't do. Letting go of the judgment that may be pretty entrenched, we cultivate gentle attention. Not 'What am I doing, dammit?' but 'What's up in me right now that is causing this thought or action or feeling?' And perhaps a pause to feel and contemplate.
I'm a mom, wife, daughter, friend, and teacher who has long struggled with the desire to be the perfect person I imagine that I should be. Practicing mindfulness has changed my life, helping me to make peace with myself as I truly am and to appreciate my family, life, and the world as they actually are.