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My Own Frog-in-Hot-Water Moment


medium_15110418895The myths I tell myself are important because they’re some of the factors that held me captive as a frog in hot water.

When we’re stuck in frog-in-hot-water situations or relationships, I believe that one or more myths like mine are always contributing to keeping us in the pan while the water continues heating up.

My second wife, like my first wife, is a lovely person inside and out. Anything I’m writing about is purely from my perspective because it’s the only perspective about which I can speak with authority.

Our marriage had all the traditional flashpoints for arguments: money, sex, and family issues. Although I didn’t realize it during our marriage, all of the persistent, unresolved frustrations that came from these issues, and the activation and pain that resulted from them, were really our respective machinery being at war with each other.

During the marriage, one of my machinery’s mantras was “I’m doing the right thing for the right reasons, so eventually it’ll work out. It only takes patience.” But this was just magical thinking on my part, and the magical thinking kept me going for years because, despite the pain I knew I was in, and despite doing the same things over and over again, I kept telling myself that “eventually it’ll work out.”

Today I can mindfully ask myself why we endured arguing for so long and neither of us ever chose to fully accept, change, or leave the situation. The answer I can give for myself is that even though at times I was mindful and realized that the only way I could change my experience was to choose Door 1, 2, or 3, I didn’t support that insight with the resolve to act on it. When we couple mindfulness with resolve, we can create new behavior. But without the resolve, we can’t take advantage of our brain’s neuroplasticity and create the new neural pathways needed to create new behavior.


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


photo credit: amphibiawebecuador via photopin cc

  • 12 Feb, 2015
  • Posted by Steve Fogel
  • 8 Tags

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