The integration of protective behaviors

When life becomes stressful, and we don't have tools for transforming our emotional pain, we'll transmit it into any variety of protective behaviors: smoking, drinking, spending, working, serving, playing, binge-watching, cleaning, etc.

First things first, protective behaviors are not bad, but because we think they are, we're always trying to exclude them from our daily routines.

All behavior is functional as it's a form of expressing what we believe about ourselves and the world around us.

To call behavior bad, is to say your beliefs are bad, is to say your experiences are bad, is to say your perception is bad, is to say the environment you grew up in and had no control over is bad, and on and on--we never get to a foundational YES in our lives when we maintain a spirit of dismissiveness.

The first step in surrendering a protective behavior is to try to understand it, as well as, the function it serves, the emotion it expresses, and the role it plays in your current state.

While surrender and exclusion may sound similar, they're as far as the east is from the west.

Exclusion is getting rid of, while surrender is letting go of.

Can you feel the difference?

  • One is willful, and the other, willing.

  • One pushes the river, and the other, goes with its flow.

  • One is driven by anger, and the other, humility.

  • One takes place as an event, and the other, a process.

  • One says NO to what is, and the other says YES to what can be.

Once you've detached from your commitment to familiarity, then it's essential to integrate the behavior and allow yourself to be reminded of who you were at that time.

Otherwise, if you don't include the previous versions of who you were, you'll never transcend and move beyond them, and you'll remain in a state of comfortable dissatisfaction.

Your previous self IS the stepping stone to your evolved self...include, and transcend!!

"Nature laughs at the difficulties of integration." Pierre-Simon Laplace



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