Breaking Obsession Continued – Living Counter-intuitively

June 11, 2012 at 3:24 PM

“When you are in an obsessive circle it can feel like you have no control over thoughts and feelings. But what you do have control over is actions and decisions.”

As I was sitting there gazing over the lake, it hit me, we express our God-likeness when we make counterintuitive choices, and learning to make counterintuitive choices is key to overcoming obsessive thinking.  Here’s how it works.

Counterintuitive is doing something completely different than what you feel like doing. Sometimes, it even means going against logic.

Here are some examples.

    • You have a bad day and proclaim, “man do I need a drink.” (replace drink with your favorite escape: danish, chocolate, cigarette). It makes sense to pour a drink or three.  But last week you had decided that you wanted to cut back on drinking, so even though the need is powerful and the feeling of rightness is compelling, you don’t drink.
    • When body builders achieve some level of success at a certain routine, it’s natural to want to keep working on that routine. But you have learned that the best way to develop strength and size is to mix it up. So just when a routine  gets easy and feels comfortable, you do something that feels hard and awkward, even though it would feel better to stick to the same routine. “Comfortable” is a body builder’s enemy not friend.
    • You are interested in a woman and want to court her. She says she’s attracted to “nice” guys. It makes sense to be super nice to her, to shower her with compliments, be accommodating and attentive to her every need, all of which comes naturally to you. But from past experiences you have learned that women are not attracted to super nice guys, and that attraction is not a choice, it ether happens or it’s doesn’t. So you resist the temptation and withhold a little, creating interest, even though it goes against your nature.
    • Not overeating when lonely, forgiving when mistreated, believing when riddled with doubt. These are all counterintuitive choices that go against how we are feeling or thinking at the time.  So how does this help to overcome obsessive thinking?

Yesterday, I wanted to sit around and think about a problem until I solved it. The harder I thought, the more in circles I went, finally resulting in fear and obsession. I have learned the signs, and so I decided to go for a bike ride to clear my mind, even though it was the last thing I felt like doing. What I wanted to do is sit at home and obsess. Sure enough, two hours later I came back with clarity and peace. You would think that gripping harder onto something would help in gaining understanding, especially since I think of myself as a smart guy, but actually, it wasn’t until I let go that I was able to get perspective and BAM, epiphany.

When you are in an obsessive circle it can feel like you have no control over thoughts and feelings. But what you do have control over is actions and decisions. Learn to do something, even if it hurts, that will break the cycle of obsession. For me, it’s hitting the bike, trails or gym. Honestly, it even works better for me then bible and prayer, because prayer can be just another way of obsessing on something. Once I was in front of the lake, calm and composed, then I could pray, or I should say worship, which is even better because it’s an outward focus.

The more counterintuitive choices you can make a day the better.  It’s where we rise above animal impulses and exercise our God-like will. The key is to start small. The more you exercise the will muscle, the stronger it becomes, training ourselves to not live according to feelings or thinking  that’s coming from damaged emotions. If you start small, then you can move onto those more unhealthy behaviors.

Stop what you are doing; assess emotions and thoughts, think about it in a different way, then make an uncomfortable decision.  Like body building, if there is pain involved, that’s a sign you are on the right track. 

Posted in: Breaking Obsession


Comments (1) -

Good blog Ron...keep them coming.


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