Albert Einstein was known for defining insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” Many of us with weight, lifestyle-caused health issues, problems with confidence, self-sabotage or any ongoing issue that we think we should just be able to will ourselves to move on from might well know the insanity of trying again and again to make a change, only to fall back into old habits.
The cycle of increasing pain (dissatisfaction with our problem), a spark of motivation (I can’t be like this anymore, I’ll do anything to fix this issue), action (a new diet or a new resolution to change our behaviour), gradual loss of motivation (pain is eased, old behaviours start to return), resignation (feeling tired and a little defeated) moving back into pain (and the cycle starts over) is common to many.
There are many aspects to dynamic change that when addressed can make a huge difference to your chance of succeeding in improving your life. In our online course we address many of these aspects over six weeks to create true paradigm shift for the individual, one of these important elements is secondary gain.
Secondary gain is the less-obvious aspect of problem behaviours, it is the benefit we get from behaviour that also causes us immense discomfort, pain or suffering. An example is the person who keeps accepting bad behaviour from a friend – maybe they cancel catch-ups at the last minute, include subtle put downs in conversation with you or run the other way when something serious is going on for you. In working on creating boundaries with that person you might lose some of the subconscious ‘benefit’ of tolerating their negative treatment. Maybe you get to not be confrontational or you get to feel like the ‘good friend’ being able to measure your behaviour to theirs and always coming out on top.
It’s not always pretty when we look at what secondary gain we have for our pain-causing behaviour but not exploring this can actually mean derailing any behaviour change you’re trying to change so it is important. Getting comfortable with discomfort is an important part of paradigm-shift but it’s certainly worth it for a better life.