Lately, I’ve been talking with several of my patients about the types of goals that they’ve been setting and why things haven’t been working out for them. We’ve recognized some consistently counterproductive patterns of belief and behavior.
These individuals were focused solely on avoiding negative outcomes, rather than achieving positive ones.
Paradoxically, not only did they miss out on achieving any positive outcomes — understandable, under the circumstances — but they created almost exactly the negative outcomes that they feared.
Recently, an artist named Lulu admitted to me that she’s had no success with dating and romance. She’s never been married and has, at 42, a history of very unsatisfactory relationships. She shared that her goal has been “to avoid divorce, as opposed to getting married.”
The result is that she’s ended up alone.
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