The Great Lie: We've Always Done It That Way...


It's a dreaded phrase:  we've always done it that way.  Or:  it's always been that way.  It's also a big fat lie.



Everything in life changes. NOTHING stays the same. To say it's always been that way cannot be true.  To say we've always done it that way in reality means that it's been done that way as far as I can remember and I want it to stay that way.  (While not a great answer; it is at least an honest one.)

Traditions must begin somewhere.  Traditions can be good.  But traditions do not HAVE to last forever.  Life changes.  What once might have been a very valid tradition and one that was best for or enjoyed by the majority; it's not ALWAYS going to be the case.  People get older.  People move away.  A person's life ten year ago can be very different than it is now.  (Heck, a person's life 5 years ago or even a year ago can be very different!)  Things change and for something (or someone) to be successful, traditions and actions need to change too.

We've always done it that way is a cop out.  It's clinging to the past when the rest of the world has moved on.  What once might have worked and been a beautiful thing might NOT work in our current society.  (On the flip side, something that was "given up" might come back into style...you never know.)

We cannot cling onto something because of what it once was.  We can treasure traditions.  We can hold onto memories of how things once were.  But we should not and CANNOT force old ideals just because that's the way it USED to be.

A perfect example from my own life is that we always used to have holiday meals at my parents’ house in the evening.  But after I got married and had a child, it just didn't work well any more.  There was more stress as a result of preserving the tradition than there was enjoyment.  The memories that were being made were not good ones.  Thankfully, we all recognized that.  We discussed what wasn't working and came up with a new plan.  And for the past several years, I have been hosting 2 out of three holiday meals mid-afternoon.  It has worked out very well and I'm so glad we didn't stick to the way that things always used to be.  (Which to be honest, weren't always that way.  If I go back to MY childhood there were different traditions that had to change and evolve over time.)  

This year, a change in residence, is going to result in a change in tradition as well.  I'm not sure how things will work out and what we will do.  However, I have accepted (as has everyone else involved) that things will have to change.  It's okay.  New traditions will be created and certainly as time goes on, these traditions will change again.

Don't get stuck in the "it's always been that way" trap.  When it comes to traditions, events and the like, take a hard look.  Are things still working?  Is the event still enjoyable?  Is the work put into worth the end result?  There is nothing wrong with letting go.  As a matter of fact if we were courageous enough to let go of the things that cause us stress and make us unhappy, we might find that our lives were enhanced.  (It would certainly aid in our sanity.)

Everything on our planet changes.   Remember that even the continents have changed over the centuries.   (Anyone study/remember Pangaea?)  NOTHING has always been that way...EVERYTHING is in some sort of state of evolution/change.

If it doesn't work; change it.  Embrace necessary change; or at the very least accept it and know that the only constant that there really is, IS change.

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