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Organizing Principles and You

Your Mind - high res

In the previous chapter, I mentioned that I rationalized suf­fering in my marriage and other close relationships with the self-defeating belief that life was full of suffering and there was nothing I could do about it. For many years, my Organizing Principles made it impossible for me to act effectively to accomplish my conscious goals of harmony in my family relation­ships and in my relationship with my business partner. These Orga­nizing Principles were so key to my remaining a frog in hot water that I’m going to review a few of them here to further illustrate how dysfunctional beliefs keep us in painful situations.

My Organizing Principle “Painful feelings are dangerous (and all feelings have the potential to be painful, so all feelings are dan­gerous)” continually reinforced my amnesia for pain. When you repress your pain as well as your other feelings, as I did, it keeps raising the threshold of the pain you’ll tolerate. Part of what created the pain I experienced was the fact that my Organizing Principle “Eventually, loving others will make things work out” was in con­flict with my other principles “The world isn’t safe; don’t trust,” “No one will take care of my needs but me,” and “If they really loved me, they’d never put me in an uncomfortable position.” I couldn’t really love anyone if I felt that I couldn’t trust them and they couldn’t take care of my needs, and that if they really loved me they would never ask me for something that makes me uncomfortable.

As long as I let these beliefs run me, they put me in a bind through which I stayed a frog in hot water. And, as long as I allowed myself to continue running on automatic pilot, I didn’t recognize that I was the one responsible for creating and holding on to these beliefs and that, in fact, I had an alternative: I could mindfully let go of them.


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

  • 16 Mar, 2015
  • Posted by Steve Fogel
  • 19 Tags

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