Breaking the Habit-Linkin Park

Unlike most of my articles, this one is a bit darker and more serious. If that is not what you came here for then I advise you skip to another one. If you would still like to know what this article’s content is about, then please look at the end. You will find a TLDR in bold.

Linkin Park was a rather successful band when I was growing up. They created various songs such as Breaking the Habit, In the End and Crawling. All of them have powerful music that ties into the vocals. You could be forgiven for not listening to the words that are in the songs themselves.

In 2017 the lead singer, Chester Bennington, committed suicide. That is important to know considering the rest of what I have to talk about in this article. Once again I apologie if this one is more somber then all of my other work.

Breaking the Habit was chosen for me to talk about because of the lyrics. It gives a view into the soul of the artist that performed it. As with all works of art, if it is writing, painting or singing, it is a work of their passion. It is a part of their soul that carries with it their mindset and philosophies.

    “I don’t know what’s worth fighting for,
    Or Why I have to scream.

    I don’t know why I instigate

    And say what I don’t mean.
    I don’t know how it got this way,
    I’ll never be alright.
    So I’m breaking the habit,
    I’m Breaking the habit tonight.”

The song is about someone consumed with self-hate and depression to the point that they want to end it. That all the bad things they do, because they are fighting with themselves, is a habit. That they are going to break the habit tonight. He even goes on to say he will paint it on the walls.

There is a bit of artistic lighting and combined with his own end, we can assume that he was fighting his own demons. That he screamed the loudest in his music so that others can understand his pain and that others know they are not alone. That no one would ever feel that they have to fight this fight alone.

I do offer an alternative view of the song. I myself deal with depression. It is largely centered around my self-hate that was created in my old life and festered during my time in the military.

That self-hate is crippling and destructive. You are afraid to act because you are unsure if the actions you are about to take are because you want to destroy yourself or make yourself stronger. If you are addressing the problem or feeding into it.

There are some and some environments that I can center a bit of blame onto for my problems. However, the ultimate culprit is me. Here is why.

For the longest time in my life, I always hid my growing self-hate behind humor and making others’ laugh. Somewhere deep inside I felt that if I could not like me, or anyone else to like me. Then I could make sure no one else hated themselves or were sad. Spent most of my life making humor at my own expense.

    “Excuse me fat guy coming through.”

    “Of course I want food, can’t you tell I am a fat guy.”

    “Do I look like I run anywhere except for the fridge?”

Those types of jokes seem completely in jest. They picked at the fact that I have a bit of a gut. That no matter how strong I proved to others and myself that I was always the out of shape fat guy. It shaped my own perception of myself, not to mention how others perceived me. Those jokes evolved into the thoughts of,

    “Why would anyone find me attractive?”

    “Why should I even approach her, she is way out of my league”

    “I will never lose weight.”

I had reaffirmed to myself in a repeating cycle that I was a fat man and would always be that way. Building those thoughts into my subconscious. Every attempt to lose weight or get into shape sabotaged because of that. Thereby feeding into one of the things that I hate about myself. The depression caused by this conflict leading me to lethargy and never succeeding in a majority of the things I tried.

All of this caused a never-ending cycle of self-hate. It might have never ended if I hadn’t noticed this about myself. That the ‘habit’ of promoting negative thoughts through humor was the start of it. That it was my habit that I needed to break. Otherwise, I could never address the root of my problems.

Now we all have self-hate. Things we just don’t quite like about ourselves. Some people want to be taller or shorter. Some don’t like their bust. Even some don’t like how they can never gain weight. It is ok to notice and address, if possible, the things we do not like about ourselves. The act of improving ourselves is the purpose of life.

It is when these things keep us from wanting to do or strive for the things we want that they become a problem. There was a video of a man who lost it at a fast food restaurant on some women for some random reason. It quickly broke into him yelling at him because he was short and the women he has met didn’t like short men.

That is one example. He fed into his own habit of talking about his height as a problem. Something that in his own head, made him a joke to the women of the world. In very much the same way my weight prevented me from approaching women, his height made him angry towards them. Both destructive, but he made him angry and lash out. Mine left me crippling inactive.

This idea of our joke showing more of ourselves extends much further. Not just our humor but where our thoughts jump too. Think about the kind of humor or the ideas that seem common in your daily life. Do you frequently make jokes that are dark? Some that others might call racist or sexist? Ask yourself why.

It may be just a joke to you, but for some reason, your mind drifts to that part of your mind. For some reason though you keep returning to it. Feeding it and letting it grow. As some would put it, ‘letting those dark thoughts live rent-free in your mind.’ These things can extend to people in your life. The people you talk about and how.

I say all of this so that you can analyze your own habits. So you can ‘Break the Habit’, as Chester sang about in his band’s song. I also advise that you take a look at more of their work. Read the lyrics as it might give you more insight into your own psyche. Even watch their music videos.

After the TLDR I am leaving the number for the suicide prevention hotline. I ask that you share it for those who need it. Keep it saved in your phone in case you need it. For yourself or to share it.

TLDR: Chester Bennington was the lead singer in the Linkin Park band. He wrote about his own battles with mental depression and how he wrote it raises the question of how we can address our own problems. Listen to his songs and think about their meaning.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline


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