The Chickens Always Come Home to Roost!

“The Chickens Always Come Home to Roost!” It’s one of the great life-lessons I’ve finally learned. And the education became a necessity because I had absolutely no conception of the truism.

I know you’ve heard the saying. Interestingly, the Roman playwright, Terence, used it in his work in 150 BC. And Chaucer used the proverb in his Parson’s Tale, written in 1390.

It’s based in a fact of nature. Chickens scratch about in the barnyard, fields, and woods throughout the day; but they always head for the hen house to roost at night.

Let’s do our work in a two-part series. Ya’ in?

The life applications of the saying are numerous; however, they all come down to one foundational bit of reality. With very few exceptions; the facts, truth, consequences, inevitable – whatever term you’d like to use – eventually hit home. I mean, we can run, and even successfully hide; but sooner or later accountability cracks us upside the head like a 2 x 4.

Of course, the saying applies to anyone; however, I know for a fact that those of us enduring depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder may have just a few more encounters with it.

Why is that? Well, I can think of three things. So let’s take a look…

I don’t think I’d be crawling-out on a limb if I suggested we all too often refuse to face the reality of ourselves and our circumstances. Therefore, issues with accurate self-perception and self-regard frequently come into play.

The fact of the matter is, the truth may be more than we chose to accept – or can. What’s Jack Nicholson’s line from A Few Good Men? “You can’t handle the truth!” That said, we become experts at diversion, finding all sorts of creative ways to deny – and touch-up – our true selves.

I’ve mentioned the terms before, but let’s give them another go. In psychobabble, the term, egosyntonic means our perception of self matches our best image of self. The opposite, egodystonic, refers to a perception of self that’s to some degree contrary to our best image – who and what we believe we are.

So for the purposes of our discussion, both come into play. I mean, we’re initially egodystonic because we’re not comfortable with how we feel and think about ourselves and circumstances. Then our denial, diversions, and rationalizations take us to an egosyntonia – in fact, drenched in self-deception.

Another factor we need to consider is good-old-fashioned procrastination. No psychobabble here. Procrastination can be a part of our symptom constellation, as well as one of our, shall we say, quirks. Regardless, it can result in a whole lot of accountability down the road.

By the way, here’s a link to the first in a series I did on procrastination.

Finally, we may need to own up to two very sensitive issues – irresponsibility and immaturity. Ouch! Hey, if you’re willing to accept these as part of what’s gone on in your life, you’re certainly not alone. Over the many years, I wrote the handbook.

Come on, though, it’s not so hard to take, is it? The truth of the matter is many of us either have, or still do, rate high on the old irresponsibility and immaturity scales. And coming to grips with the reality is the only way we’ll be able to do anything about it.

So there you have ’em – three dynamics that can easily prompt the truism, “The chickens always come home to roost!”…

Inaccurate perception of the reality of ourselves and our circumstances, procrastination, and irresponsibility and immaturity.

Well, we’ve laid a great foundation; however, we need to keep working. Come on back tomorrow as we discuss how to avoid hearing the saying in the first place, as well as how to manage the chickens’ return.

In the meantime, your comments are always appreciated. That’s how we all learn and grow!