Jen Sincero, from You Are a Badass:
We pretty much don’t ever do anything that we don’t benefit from in some way, be it in a healthy way or an unhealthy way. If you’re perpetuating something dismal in your life because of some dopey story, there’s definitely something about it that you’re getting off on.
Let’s say, for example, that your story is that you’re depressed. Chances are pretty good that even though it feels awful, when you feel awful you don’t have to work hard or do the laundry or go to the gym. It also feels very familiar and cozy and comfortable. It gets you attention. People come in and check on you and sometimes bring food. It gives you something to talk about. It allows you to not try too hard or move forward and face possible failure. It lets you drink beer for breakfast.
Let’s say your story is that you can’t make money. By staying broke, you get to be right. You get to be a victim, which makes you dependent on other people and gets you attention. Other people will offer to pay. You don’t have to take responsibility. You get to give up before you start and avoid possible failure. If things in your life fall far below the mediocre scale, you get to blame other people and circumstances instead of taking risks to change it because you can’t afford to take risks.
Let’s say your story is that you stink at relationships. You get your freedom. You don’t have to commit and can keep looking for the greener grass on the other side. You don’t have to risk getting hurt by being vulnerable. You get to complain about always being single and get sympathy. You get the whole bed to yourself, never have to compromise, and don’t have to shave unless it’s summer.
We don’t realize it, but we’re making the perks we get from perpetuating our stories more important than getting the things we really want because it’s familiar territory, it’s what we’re comfy with and we’re scared to let it go. If we’ve been depressed or victimized or whatever since childhood, we trick ourselves into believing that it’s really who we are as adults in order to continue reaping “the rewards.” It’s how we survived as kids, but it doesn’t serve us anymore so we need to get rid of it or we’ll just keep creating more of it.