How To Overcome The 
Most self-defeating mindset...

Now, the opposite extreme of needing is to say something has no importance at all. 

Thatís a mistake. 

Iím not trying to say that romantic love is for the birds. I have a happy marriage, I have a happy romantic love. Itís nice. Itís very nice. But itís not essential for happiness. 

The more you realize that it isnít, the more capable you become in achieving it. 

So some days you have icing on the cake, and some days you donít, and thatís okay because you have cake! The cake is self-acceptance. Self-acceptance. Rational thinking. That I donít need what I want, itís only a preference. Thatís all that it is.

When you go into Baskin-Robbins. They say, ďWhat can I do for you?Ē You give them a preference. 

If they say, ďIím sorry, weíre out of chocolate almond,Ē you donít get hurt. You donít get mad. You have about three seconds, at the very most, of disappointment. Then you come up with another preference. 

If thatís not available, then you might end up with your third or fourth choice, and you might find out that your third or fourth choice you like even better than you did your first choice. 

God sometimes knows better. 

Fate sometimes knows better. 

We donít throw fits about that. 

We donít get hurt and mad and run out of Baskin-Robbins place. And then the next day, weíre walking by and they say, ďHey, Homer. Weíve got your favorite flavor Ė chocolate almond.Ē I donít say, ďToo little, too late. Iíve got my hurt feelings to keep me warm.Ē 

We donít do that. Weíre more rational. Itís that kind of rationality that we have about ice cream is exactly the rationality thatís desirable for us to learn in connection with getting what we want from other people.

Feeling hurt is a sick pleasure, which crowds out healthy pleasures. And the belief that you need is what causes hurt feelings and angry feelings. 

When we change that belief, then you have disappointment and frustration, dislike, but youíre not hurt, youíre not mad and youíre not anxious when something doesnít go your way. 

You feel a degree of disappointment and a degree of frustration. But you accept it philosophically. 

Itís perfectly okay. 

And you donít feel hurt and you donít feel mad. 

See, when you feel hurt and mad, you behave in ways to increase the hurt feelings and the angry feelings. You attack the other personís pride. They get worse. Then you have more excuses for your bad feelings. 

But when you realize that what youíre desiring is only a preference, thatís all that it is, then you behave in ways that reduce the frustration and reduce the disappointment.

You take care of the other personís pride, while taking care of your own. 

When you have an attitude that itís only a preference, only a desire, only a want, thatís all that it is, you relax. And you can imagine new ways. 

When you believe that you need what you desire, youíre quick to get hurt and mad, anxious, depressed, and you get stuck in that rut. 

So you are unable to come up with a new approach, a new experiment. Something new to try. When itís only a preference, you relax and you come up with a new idea.

Now, for example, the situation where I talked with the wife who said no, she would not come in. 

I was able to, first of all, say, ďI understand that feeling.Ē 

When you believe you need what you want, you donít say, ďI understand.Ē You say, ďBut, I donít understand. Why are you doing this?Ē And that works against you. So you stick with criticizing, complaining, arguing, jealousy, whatever, and youíre stuck in the rut.

I felt sincerely that I only preferred her to come in. So then, I was able to say, ďI understand that feeling.Ē 

Now, something else that you do that works when you only prefer, is you ask for something much smaller Ė something less Ė something quicker and easier. 

When you believe that you need, youíre not in the mood to ask for a bite of food when you want a whole plate. 

ďI shouldnít have to do this.Ē

So you end up with self-pity. But when you realize that itís only a preference, then you can ask for something smaller. 

See, I wanted her to come in, she said no. So I didnít get mad or argue or say, ďThe hell with it.Ē 

I said, ďI understand that feeling. Do you mind if I call you back later this afternoon?Ē 

Ask her for something smaller, just to talk to her on the phone. Something easier for her to do.

And then when I called her back, I said, ďThank you for letting me call you back.Ē People who need donít say thank you. They just criticize and complain. I said, ďThank you for letting me call you back.Ē 

You are able to make a soft and gentle request, not a demand, when you believe in preferences. ďYou certainly do not have to tell me,Ē I said, ďbut I sure would appreciate it if you would tell me why you said you wouldnít come in.Ē 

She said, ďNo, I donít mind telling you. Itís because I think youíre going to try to talk me into taking counseling, and I donít want counseling.Ē 

I said, ďI promise not to do that.Ē 

See, even though I prefer that she take counseling, I promise not to try to talk her into it.

So when you only prefer, you can break it up into little steps, and you can focus on only one step at a time. You are patient, and creative, and pleasant to be around. You donít have a need to argue. 

I didnít have a need to argue with her when she was in the office. 

I didnít need her to take counseling. 

I preferred that she take counseling. 

If I needed her to take counseling, I would have argued with her. Thatís why her husband couldnít get her to come in. He needed her to come in.

These Excerpts are from the book "Stop Your Divorce!"
by Homer McDonald
Available for download at