An old man is sitting on the front porch with his hound dog, and a friend comes up to chat. As the men sit and talk, every now and then, the hound lets out a pitiful howl.
Finally the friend says, "What in the world is wrong with your dog?"
The old man didn't miss a beat. "He's laying on a nail and it's poking him."
The friend looks at the dog stretched out on the porch then back at the man, thinking that was about the dumbest thing he's ever heard. "Well, why doesn't he get up and move?"
The old man shrugged. "Guess it's just not hurting him bad enough."
Sound familiar? We've all been like that dog at one time or another. We'll moan and whine about what's bothering us, but if it doesn't hurt badly enough--if we can tolerate it--we won't do anything to change it. Worse still, we'll use TV, shopping, drinking, pills, sex or a thousand other things to distract ourselves and avoid facing our problems.
If you've read The Hardline Self Help Handbook, you already know about my own "poor pitiful me" wake-up call. It wasn't pretty, but it was effective. After I'd told my same old sad story for about the millionth time, my best friend said, "Isn't it great, that for the rest of your life, no matter who you tell your story to, they'll say, 'you poor thing,' and you, my friend, can be a victim forever."
Yes, I got the message. I also realized that no matter what anyone else said--no matter how good their suggestions and solutions--I wasn't going to get up off my own nail until it hurt too much not to. The pain of staying the same had to become greater than the fear of change.
And, unfortunately, those who had run themselves ragged trying to help me by listening and making suggestions, were really just delaying my descent to rock bottom. By complaining and asking my friends what I should do, I gave myself the illusion that I was actually doing something about my problem, which I was not. All it did was ease the pain enough to make it tolerable so I could keep doing exactly what I had been.
Pain is there for a reason--honor it. If you're moaning and complaining about something, but not really doing anything to change it, it's time to snap out of it. Choose to get up off your own nail now and move out of pain into joy. Woof!