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

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

That's a mistake. 

I'm not trying to say that romantic love is for the birds. I have a happy marriage, I have a happy romantic love. It's nice. It's very nice. But it's not essential for happiness. 

The more you realize that it isn't, the more capable you become in achieving it. 

So some days you have icing on the cake, and some days you don't, and that's okay because you have cake! The cake is self-acceptance. Self-acceptance. Rational thinking. That I don't need what I want, it's only a preference. That's all that it is.

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

If they say, "I'm sorry, we're out of chocolate almond," you don't get hurt. You don't get mad. You have about three seconds, at the very most, of disappointment. Then you come up with another preference. 

If that's 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 don't throw fits about that. 

We don't get hurt and mad and run out of Baskin-Robbins place. And then the next day, we're walking by and they say, "Hey, Homer. We've got your favorite flavor - chocolate almond." I don't say, "Too little, too late. I've got my hurt feelings to keep me warm." 

We don't do that. We're more rational. It's that kind of rationality that we have about ice cream is exactly the rationality that's 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 you're not hurt, you're not mad and you're not anxious when something doesn't go your way. 

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

It's perfectly okay. 

And you don't feel hurt and you don't 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 person's pride. They get worse. Then you have more excuses for your bad feelings. 

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

You take care of the other person's pride, while taking care of your own. 

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

When you believe that you need what you desire, you're 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 it's 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, "I understand that feeling." 

When you believe you need what you want, you don't say, "I understand." You say, "But, I don't understand. Why are you doing this?" And that works against you. So you stick with criticizing, complaining, arguing, jealousy, whatever, and you're stuck in the rut.

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

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

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

"I shouldn't have to do this."

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

See, I wanted her to come in, she said no. So I didn't get mad or argue or say, "The hell with it." 

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

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, "Thank you for letting me call you back." People who need don't say thank you. They just criticize and complain. I said, "Thank you for letting me call you back." 

You are able to make a soft and gentle request, not a demand, when you believe in preferences. "You certainly do not have to tell me," I said, "but I sure would appreciate it if you would tell me why you said you wouldn't come in." 

She said, "No, I don't mind telling you. It's because I think you're going to try to talk me into taking counseling, and I don't want counseling." 

I said, "I promise not to do that." 

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 don't have a need to argue. 

I didn't have a need to argue with her when she was in the office. 

I didn't need her to take counseling. 

I preferred that she take counseling. 

If I needed her to take counseling, I would have argued with her. That's why her husband couldn't 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