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Shooting Yourself in the Foot (Paradoxical Needs)

Why do I do things NOT in my best interest?

A psychological reversal (or cognitive dissonance) is when we do exactly what shoots ourselves in the foot. We want to get good sleep, but we go to sleep late and wake up early (maybe we want more hours in the day to prove ourselves worthy, or we value entertainment more than sleep?) But even the worse things we do to ourselves have an internal overarching reason in our best interest (or we perceive it as better than the bad thing we’re doing). Honestly ask yourself why you don’t get sleep when you need it. When you ask until you get to the place you want to stop being honest, that is the answer.


How can something good come from my doing something that works against me?

Let’s say you hate being sick. But you tend to get sick every time you have something terribly important to do (take an exam, put on a program or presentation, put up a household of guests). Your body senses the stress of what needs to happen, and slows you down with sickness. Your body is only doing this in your best interest because it perceives a threat of something big down the pike.


So when you wonder why you do something that doesn’t appear to help you, ask until you get to EGO/Pride. For example, why can’t I get along with a family member that drives me crazy? If I do get along, I’ll have to give up some of my power. If I give up some of my power, they will seem more powerful. If they are more powerful, they will always win. If I always lose, it shows how incompetent I am. To prove my competence, I will keep my power, and hence, my pride. And I will continue to suffer a bad relationship. How to reverse a psychological reversal? None of us are really effective by thinking we have “the most power,” as described above. God has the most power, so I will answer to Him and not my family member, no matter how the power looks in the end. Because in the end, with God, nothing is impossible, including a loving relationship among family.


What are my escapes/addictions for not facing my needs?

Especially if we haven’t acknowledged our emotions, good, and bad, we’ll tend to push them down and escape to a number of things: substances, shopping, reading, food, pornography; you name it--whatever fills your fake bucket. When you set down the escape and acknowledge the thing that could fill the space (letting others in your life, being a better parent, spouse, or steward, conquering fears, making dreams come true, giving up pride, following the Lord in exactness), then you see how that escape is a poor substitute. Have strength and courage to face your needs by tuning into both your spirit and God’s spirit to find truth.



Why wouldn’t I put my oxygen mask on first?

So why would we leave the living to others? And let them be the rescuers? And put off what we can do ourselves? Again, it comes down to fear: if someone else is there to always take care of me, they will love me (codependency); I fear I can’t gain true love from someone unless I am a martyr. Or others are responsible for my happiness; why is the world always against me? Victimization really is giving power to others for your happiness. Again, God’s power comes first, and he instructs us to love our neighbor as ourselves, which means we put on our oxygen mask while showing our neighbor by our stalwart example.

When you wonder why life is out of your control, take it back and stop shooting yourself in the foot.

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