Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Acting Out On Negative Urges

"Acting out" is jargon for bad behavior. The phrase "acting out" implies that it is OK to have negative thoughts and urges, just so long as one does not act out on them destructively. The phrase "acting out" is commonplace in personal development circles, where such urges are welcomed as stimuli for character growth.

Today I came across a fascinating concept that makes the idea of acting out more practical. Here it is:

We don't have to act on negative urges the moment we become not willing to pay the price for acting on such feelings.

In other words, the solution to negative urges is to expand awareness of the cost of acting on them until one no longer wishes to act. Freedom comes from asking "What are the costs of my acting out?"

The root of the matter, to the most fundamental distinction of all between acting out of negativity and exercising restraint in service to growth, is that negative urges produces backwardness because they do such violence to the spirit, thwarting the human impulse to create, to enjoy, and to worship.

The ultimate cost of acting out on negative urges is that it undermines the dignity and integrity of whole person. Such a cost is never worthwhile.

Tell yourself:

This defect of character will fall. It cannot withstand the exercise of faith, truth, and freedom.


Blogger Cool Meditations said...

I am here by virtue of nomadic spherical journeyings (if you don't get that.. never mind.. ignore me.. I'm new to Blogger!).

I like this post. I read it a while back and I read it again. If only everyone could exercise within themselves the practice of thinking things through to the point you describe, it would be a far far better world. It is not that each individual is 'not aware' - often times the 'urge to act out' is claimed to be (and can be) so powerful as to quell the warning voices. So often in my own life I have wished that I was taught, in childhood, as part of the school curriculum - as important as 'language or math or sciences', the art of meditation (as they did in the old days) and any other techniques that help to foster 'self discipline' and listening to the 'inner voices' (the good kind :D)

8:47 PM  

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