What is secondary gain and how does this sabotage the change process?
We all want to see our dogs happy, healthy and balanced, right? And, we want the same for ourselves too, don't we?! And yet sometimes no matter how many different things we try, we can't seem to change the habits and behaviours we wish to. Why is that?
There are many reasons, but the one I want to talk about here is self sabotage due to secondary gain. What's that?
Secondary gain can be described as the benefits people get when they DON'T resolve a problem. "Well that's silly", you might think. "I wouldn't be doing all the things I am doing for myself and my dog if I didn't want to see the issues resolved! I don't like the way things are now! It feels uncomfortable for me, and I want my dog to feel safe, calm and happy too. Of course I want to things to change!" Whether we are aware of it or not, (mostly not because these are tactics of the unconscious mind) the very pain and discomfort that the issue causes, is exactly what keeps us from moving forward to where we want to be.
I know know this sounds crazy, but herein lies the paradox. There are a few different reasons why our unconscious mind would NOT want the change to happen. Here are three : Firstly, it's important to remember that the primary function of our unconscious mind is to keep us safe! a) "Better the devil you know, that the one you don't know." Change can be uncomfortable. It takes us out of our comfort zone, and as far as our unconscious mind is concerned, that's unknown territory and it's not safe. Change can mean creating new habits, staying motivated and maintaining a good mindset. It costs us physical and mental energy to sustain these new habits until they become 'normalized'. Sometimes this feels harder than just putting up with what we have right now - even if it doesn't feel good. b) "No pain, no gain." Many of us share this belief. In order to succeed at something we need to suffer or work hard to achieve results. This can feel overwhelming for us if we are already experiencing so much discomfort and stress. We might think, "Where are on earth will I find the time and energy to do all I have to do, in order to reach the goals or outcome I want to see?" In this case too, it might be simply easier to stay in the situation we currently find ourselves in, than going through even more pain and suffering to get where we want to be. c) Are you dancing at your own pity party? This one can push buttons for many of us! But, sometimes (unconsciously) we are actually getting rewarded for our woes. We might complain to others about how awful if feels to go through the challenges we face with our dogs. We seek out others who are in the same position and wallow in 'pity parties', comparing our struggles. Now, I am not talking about healthy sharing and reaching out for support when we need it! This is a vital and necessary part of our change process. I am talking about the habitual whinging and whining which leads to us validating our pain and how bad things are for us. This might also meet our primary needs of feeling seen, heard and understood. We all need to this type of validation, and if we aren't getting it in other areas of our lives (our family, colleagues, friends, etc), then our challenges with our dogs might provide such a space for us to receive this kind of acknowledgement, from other people.
So you see, we not only have to WANT the change to happen, but also to be AWARE of the reasons behind our desires to see change (or not). No one said that it's easy, but the TRUE REWARDS lie on the other side of the issue and the lessons we learn along the way. It's where we get to experience the real relief! The ease, flow, harmony and deep connection with our dogs that that takes us to WHOLE NEW LEVEL of living a life with passion and pupose!
But you really have to be RIGHT AND READY to take RESPONSIBILITY and ACTION and COMMITTED to sticking with it - even when it feels uncomfortable!
This is why it's so important to have the right mindset, the right tools and help you need to stay balanced and focused, and the right people to guide you and support along the way.
If you don't have these things in place, chances are you might not succeed.
Are your REALLY READY for change?!
Are you sure about that!? What is costing you and your dog right now to stay where you are and continue to endure the struggles you are facing? Or, would you prefer to just stay where you are right now? I think it's important to add that if you recognize that you might be sabotaging your progress in one or more of ways, and you simply don't have the energy to move forward right now, its OKAY. It's okay to stay where you are until you feel 100% ready for change. It's your choice. No-one is going to force you to do anything. It's your life and you get to decide what's right for you. But, if you ARE ready for change and want to know how you can begin that process, or you want to know what your next steps might be to move beyond any blocks that are getting in your way, then I am here for you. Book your free 30 minute Discovery call and let's chat!