I was speaking with a friend the other day about some “nice to haves” in a future house. Being a former collegiate swimmer, she mentioned that she loved the idea of having a pool. Then, she said, “…but, I also know there is some risk involved with having one.” Besides being a superior athlete, she also happens to be an accomplished attorney. She described the pool (as only a lawyer could) as an “attractive nuisance.” I thought, ‘What a great phrase!’ She went on to inform me that the term refers to a legal doctrine which roughly amounts to the following:
A landowner may be liable for injuries to children who trespass on his or her land if the injury results from a hazardous object on the land that is likely to attract children who are unable to appreciate the potential danger posed by the object.
Well, that got me thinking about those things that are “attractive nuisances” to all of us – those things that give us immediate pleasure, but could be hazardous in reaching our goals (a thriving career, loving relationships, peace of mind – and ultimately, joy). A quick google search will yield a laundry list of the following “attractive nuisances”
- “The need to be perfect” / ”Expecting others to be perfect”
- “The Fear of Failure”
- “Needing to be right”
- “Immediate gratification”
- “Procrastinating until that ‘perfect time’”
- Excuses – “I’m too old; I’m not good enough; It will take too long;”
For some of us, not all these examples are “attractive” or even pleasurable, but they are nuisances. They all have a way of getting inside our head and playing tricks on our goals and expectations. They are those little voices that start out as vices, then turn to habits, and eventually stone.
The good news is that we can recondition ourselves and push back against those self-defeating thoughts and behaviors. We can consciously make the effort to give ourselves what we deserve – a bigger and more fulfilling existence. It takes work and it takes patience – but, the payoff is far more attractive than those nuisances.
If you have any questions about Amy Wine Counseling Center and our therapeutic services feel free to call us at 832-421-8714 or contact us here.