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A Road Map for Becoming Mindfully Aware of How You Operate—Payoffs or Heavy Costs?

photo credit: amsfrank via photopin cc

photo credit: amsfrank via photopin cc

I’ve mentioned that our acts have three payoffs, but are these really payoffs?


By becoming mindfully aware of and reflecting on my acts, I can now see that they don’t deliver real payoffs; they’re just payoffs for my machinery. They keep me trapped in my old fixed way of being and reinforce the neural pathways that keep me in the loop of repeating the same behaviors again and again. They make it impossible to connect authentically with other people and to experience true connection, which is pure love.


Our identity is part of the defense system we form as an unconscious strategy for survival, to cope with the fear of being wrong, being controlled, being invalidated, or being abandoned. Your identity and its various roles are elements of your defense system, and they cut you off from your real feelings. They cost you self-expression, satisfaction, vitality, and well-being.


My poor-me act may get the person I feel is shaming or blaming me to feel sorry for me and stop what I hear as criticism, but it keeps me stuck as a victim, a wounded child, instead of allowing me to be a fully functioning adult. While it attempts to manipulate others for sympathy, it stops me from relating with integrity and robs me of my own power, strength, and potential. It also blocks informa­tion that could be helpful to me in my desire to grow. So while this act of mine is intended to excuse me from what I perceive as shame and blame, it’s at the cost of closing myself off from a productive conversation that might lead to my learning about areas in which I would benefit by changing.


An excerpt from my recent book, Your Mind Is What Your Brain Does for a Living, now available at Amazon (

  • 25 Sep, 2014
  • Posted by Steve Fogel
  • 5 Tags

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