Can you recognize yourself in any of these … ?
* “I’ve never been lucky in (choose one: money, career, love).”
* “Sure, I could have done better if only my parents had….”
* “Well, how am I going to have a healthy outlook after what I’ve been through?”

These things are the blame game. These are examples of blaming as a way of remembering past hurts. And they do hurt. And they are hurts.

And your mind grows addicted to that hurt the more you repeat it and retell that hurt. Your mind starts to look for that hurt in new situations as a way of reinforcing it. It starts to rely on it. And as with anything that becomes uniquely yours, your mind actually redeciphers it to be a good thing. It’s part of a small cognitive dissonance that mind thinks, “Well, I’m a good person, I like myself, so this bad thing has got to just be part of me – what can I do?, it’s just part of me, and I’m a good person.” And then, somehow, without you even being aware, the mind massages the message just a little to be simply, “That pain is part of me.”

The two books mentioned in the previous post overlap on this interesting concept of the person’s ego identifying with the person’s pain.

The Power of Now says that if there is a negative feeling, such as anger, guilt, self-pity, or depression, then that feeling is tied to the body as long as the mind continues to dwell on it and to play out scenarios. In this sense, the author Eckhart Tolle says that the body is connected with the pain in a “pain-body.” Furthermore, Eckhart Tolle describes “ego identification with the pain-body” as that sense that there is something of “my story” or “my life” in that cycle and that there is a pleasure that the body retains from identifying with that pain and that history.

In Get Over Yourself, Tonya Pinkins talks about letting go of the ego, dropping the drama, and getting over the victim and saint self-stories. Both the victim story (“Oh, I can’t do anything right because of all these terrible things that happened to me”, “I have a million perfect reasons to be depressed, and you would be too if you’d been through what I’ve been through”) and the saint story (“I am not going to follow my dream because it might hurt some of my close ones,” “I will switch to my dream job once the kids are in college”) are crutches for not acting now. Both stories tie negative feelings, such as guilt or self-pity to the ego, to the core identity of a person.

Breaking that ego and pain-body identification is, in short, “getting over yourself.”

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  1. By » BEST OF POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY category on Monday November 20, 2006 at 12:49 pm

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