The Cheap Little Payoffs


I am reading an incredible book called, Letting Go, The Pathway of Surrender by Dr. David R. Hawkins. To say it is a masterful and unique approach to enjoying life is an understatement. It's a resource I've found myself coming back to again, and again (and again).

In this incredible guide, Hawkins discusses the ways we enjoy our suffering. Or, in his words, the "cheap little payoffs" we get from our guilt, or anger, and even our grief. Initially I was shocked by this claim - what?! WHY would anyone want to suffer in this way? It's not really a choice, right?...Right?

Well, while it may not be the most conscious choice, I agree with Hawkins that it is a choice, and yes, there is a bit of twisted pleasure we may get from our own pain, or lording our destructive emotions over another. 

Here are some examples:

  1. Though we may hate our boss a "cheap little payoff" would be the satisfaction we get from feeling holier-than-thou towards him or her, constantly complaining and having juicy fodder for gossip to share. 
  2. Though we may feel guilty about not spending time with our family, we might enjoy some of those feelings as an act of self-punishment, thereby superficially masking or negating the true pull to actually be present with them. 
  3. Though we may resent our spouse our housemate for leaving their clothes on the floor or dishes in the sink, we'll keep that bitter resentment to ourself, and enjoy the payoff of living on a high-horse of self-directed domestic pride. 
  4. Though we may lament that we want to grow our business, get that next raise, or land that new career, we may weirdly enjoy feeling and playing small, getting a payoff from the safe coziness of the known and comfortable. 
  5. Though we may say we really want to lose weight, we may enjoy the payoffs of a cookie-dough-ice-cream-pity-party, and again that comfort-zone of feeling uncomfortable in the body, choosing to identify with that small and old, familiar self than risk the change of identity. 

Have I piqued your curiosity yet? Isn't this so interesting? And when it's spelled out like this it does of course beg the question, why stay there? Isn't releasing that and moving on to something bigger, better, more loving or more expansive much (much) better? 

Yes. Yes, indeed. And here's how. 

We simply (and not so simply) learn to acknowledge the feelings we have - even if they're uncomfortable, icky, or ugly, ones - and we surrender them for something better. 

How does this look? Again - let's consult our examples:

  1. We remember that everyone is human. Our boss may be going through a really tough time at home, or may just absolutely hate himself/herself. The elevated act here is to see God in that person and also see the flawed humanity in that person. Consciously choose to see that they want to be happy and free from suffering too, and choose a higher frequency than complaint and gossip. Surrendering the need to whine about the boss may even make the step toward finding a job more seamless and ease-filled. 
  2. Guilt does nothing for us. It harms it's "host" without helping or changing the thing one is actually guilty about. Again, the job is to look at this emotion, acknowledge it, see it, and let it go, remembering that life is short and it is OK to live a more self-directed joy-filled existence. If that involves lots of time with your family of origin, great. If that involves much more boundary around seeing or communicating with them, also great. Conscious, empowered choice is the key here. 
  3. Read #1. Then also realize that your extra tidying and helping can be seen as a gift. An offering to someone you love, or enjoy the company of. Go higher, and you may actually even begin to like the cleanup process (as I absolutely have in my own personal experience. Love you, Tay!) 
  4. Look at those feelings of addiction to smallness. The comfort in staying in the container and cocoon that you have built - even if it's filled with your own misery, failure, and shortcomings. Then acknowledge that you're ready and willing to step out. To expand your reach, your influence, your work. To take that risk. Continue to surrender the fears associated with growth and allow yourself to walk into the excitement of the uncomfortable.
  5. This is also similar to #4. Acknowledge the "payoffs" you get from being overweight or feeling uncomfortable in your skin. Be honest with yourself. When you are ready, let them go. Surrender the need for that comfort and walk with more confidence and strength into the transformative power of the unknown. 

Now, certainly this just scratches the surface in terms my own interpretations and examples of said "cheap little payoffs," yet I think it's enough to get your wheels spinning. 

It's a great time to notice what you're holding onto that truly doesn't serve your expansion, your growth, and your highest good. It's a great time to acknowledge the "gains" you get from them - the pity-parties of your own mind that you've gotten comfortable with. And when you're ready, it's a great time to surrender each of them for something far, greater - change. 

Should you wish to take this work deeper one-on-one or with your organization or company, you may do so below.