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Guiding Principle: Don’t Live with Familiar Pain out of Fear of Awkward Pain

medium_3494548631Don’t live with familiar pain out of fear of awkward pain.

This Guiding Principle reminds me that it’s self-defeating to stay in a bad situation, repeating old painful behavior patterns just because I’m afraid of what might happen if I leave it and start anew. It reminds me not to stay in my personal prison just because of fear of change! It reminds me that I can commit to new behavior that can lead me toward a more fulfilling experience, even though it means I’ll have to risk the unfamiliar pain of changing and doing something different.

One way of describing the underlying fear of taking this risk is “You know what you’ve got but you don’t know what you will get!” Often the fear of going from what you’ve got to something new and not knowing what it will be plays out in keeping you trapped in a bad situation, because you’re afraid that as bad as what you’ve got is, what you will get as its replacement may be worse!

Many of us are afraid of the unknown, but we don’t have to allow that fear to keep us trapped in dysfunctional ways of thinking and acting just because we’re used to the pain they cause and feel we can tolerate it, however miserably. This Guiding Principle reminds me that the fear of awkward pain is going to be there, but if I want to grow, I have to move ahead despite the fear. It’s the only way to open the door to possibility.

Remember this rule: In a situation in which you are in pain and feel that you are in a bind that will keep you there, you have three options from which to choose that will resolve the problem and change your experience. I think of these options as three doors.

You can choose Door 1 and accept the situation fully.

You can choose Door 2 and change the situation.

You can choose Door 3 and remove yourself from the situation.

Choosing any of these options will end the bind that you have been in that has kept you in pain. The point is to not maintain a painful status quo just because you’re afraid that choosing Door 1, Door 2, or Door 3 means doing something that you have never done before and, in so doing, you may experience pain.


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


photo credit: byronv2 via photopin cc

  • 29 Jan, 2015
  • Posted by Steve Fogel
  • 8 Tags

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