In Praise of Vice

Do you like cold cuts, a small glass of white here, another of red there, getting up late and procrastinating sometimes? Probably it’s time to stop self-flagellation. Because happiness, true happiness, is perhaps there, very close: in these small and not necessarily good lifestyle habits, humble flaws and other weaknesses that you will have finally accepted.

If you haven’t done the alcohol-free challenge, and already abandoned all other New Year’s resolutions, read on. Even more so if your plan to rigorously classify your papers for taxes has obviously fallen through.

It is not us who say this, but several psychologists interviewed, for whom the race for perfection and this constant desire to change oneself is not only utopian, unrealistic, but above all harmful. Let’s stop comparing ourselves: self-acceptance would ultimately be a much wiser strategy.

It’s a tasty article from Guardian at the start of the year which put us on this pleasant track, by titling, hold on: Beer, vaping and scrolling: my bad habits make me feel good. What do I do? (free translation: Drinking, vaping, wasting time online: my bad habits do me good, is it serious, doctor?)

Read the article from Guardian here (in English)

We asked several specialists the question.

“Are we talking about problem behaviors for us, or problem behaviors for the morality of society? », immediately asks psychologist Nicolas Chevrier, president of Séquoia Psychological Services, on the other end of the line. “What is a vice? Here, the definition is an important element and we must come back to ourselves, what we believe is good for us and what, without excess, brings us a certain pleasure. »

Key terms: We And without excess. “If I spend two hours on social media a day, does that do me any good? Are other areas of my life affected? Am I neglecting my family, my intellectual and family life? My sleep, my sports activities? » Maybe those hours of watching cat videos are ultimately doing you more good than harm. We still have to ask ourselves the question, and accept ourselves.

“It’s important to take responsibility,” he says, “to develop kindness towards ourselves, not to fall into extreme perfection. »


Nicolas Chevrier, psychologist and president of Séquoia Psychological Services

We each have our strengths and our weaknesses. And we have our pleasures.

Nicolas Chevrier, psychologist and president of Séquoia Psychological Services

Besides, we shouldn’t compare ourselves, but let’s compare all the same (!): on average, we all spend around 2.5 hours a day on the Snapchats, Instagrams and TikToks of this world, reveals a study relayed by numerous media outlets at the start of the year. That’s 876 hours per year, or the equivalent of 36.5 days. In short, we are not alone in this virtual vortex.

Consult the study (in English)

Accept and know yourself

Psychologist and speaker Rose-Marie Charest is working on a book on acceptance these days, to be published next fall. We still have more reasons to be happy (working title) is intended to be “a synthesis of what (his) clinical work has brought (him) in terms of knowledge of the human being,” she summarizes. Among other things: the importance of stopping “constantly wanting to change”, and finally “accepting yourself”. Note: “Not only does it feel good, but often, this is where we can make changes!” »

Counterintuitive, you say? Not necessarily. “You have to stop being your adversary,” she says, “because by saying to yourself: (insert here: I drink less, I move more, etc.), you lose your internal signals! »

An example ? “Weight loss,” continues Rose-Marie Charest. By focusing on this, we lose sight of what we want to eat. » Self-esteem takes a hit. However, if, conversely, we accept ourselves as we are, with our gluttony, we have better self-esteem, “we feel better and probably we will have better eating habits”! The secret: accept yourself.

Please note: accepting yourself does not mean wallowing in what you are, but rather knowing yourself, we understand, and then, eventually and gradually, making realistic decisions.

To take the example of cat videos, if you know that you spend your evenings there, and you realize for yourself the quantity of days wasted in this way per year, perhaps you will naturally undertake to reduce your time spent watching. ‘screen. A gentle change, more effective than repeatedly telling yourself: “I need to uninstall Instagram”.

Another eloquent example: exercise. “We all want to exercise more,” continues the psychologist.


Rose-Marie Charest, psychologist and speaker

For me, the year they gave me an exercise program was the year I ended up doing the least!

Rose-Marie Charest, psychologist and speaker

For what ? Because the said program did not start from who “she”, Rose-Marie Charest, is. “He didn’t take into account my schedule, who I am, the activities I enjoy, and I lost sight of what I loved doing! »

You don’t make your bed every morning, and you’re doing just fine, thank you? “If it makes you feel good, why would we change?” » replies the psychologist. Usually it’s to try to match a pattern. “You have to take your own history into account, which suits us! » Because the famous “model” is rarely an “intrinsic” motivation, but rather an “extrinsic” one, she continues.

Moreover, over the years, Rose-Marie Charest has come to this observation: “as I get older, I think that the happiest people are those who have accepted being imperfect. All our lives, there are things that don’t suit us,” she adds. We have the impression of not eating enough vegetables, of watching too much TV, of not reading enough, or on the contrary of spending entire nights there. “But those who accept themselves, in general, have better relationships with others and a more positive self-image! »

Read “From Self-Flagellation to Self-Compassion”

Update on the challenges

A month without sugar, without screens or without alcohol: there is no shortage of challenges launched on social networks. “But if we don’t have a particular problem, I don’t see the point,” says psychologist Nicolas Chevrier here. “What is the point of depriving myself of a specific food that I consume in a non-problematic way? » If there is a problem, weaning or deprivation for a month is probably not the best idea possible. “The best way to make a change is to become aware of the problem,” he continues, “put a realistic plan in place, with small, achievable goals, target one behavior at a time, and seek help if you can’t. does not arrive. No having a social happening! “, he said. Sorry: a virtual social happening, rather. The challenge then becomes a matter of image management, and on social networks, we know, “when we compare ourselves, we almost always lose”! Moreover, “comparing yourself to others is harmful”. So where is happiness? “In balance,” concludes Nicolas Chevrier. According to my pleasures and my interests. »


Leave a Comment