When You Let Yourself Down

My definition of addiction may be different than you've heard. I define addiction as the use of a substance, behavior, or attitude to change your state from one of pain to pleasure but the choice has negative side effects. I see addiction as a dis-ease, not a disease.

What motivates us to become addicted to a behavior, attitude, or substance? When we feel bad about ourselves and don't know how to get ourselves into a positive state without the use of that crutch.

This doesn't mean that our body and brain chemistry don't go through immense changes when we are involved in our particular addiction. They do. It's easy to understand that with alcohol, drugs, and food. It's harder to get the connection when it shows up as an attitude such as arrogance, apathy, or guilt. It's even harder to connect the dots when your addiction is reading, playing games on your computer, or exercising.

The important thing to ask yourself is this: Am I able to get myself into a feeling state of joy on my own? Do I rationalize how it is okay to do whatever it is since I deserve it, end up feeling good albeit temporarily, will change the behavior tomorrow or soon, or simply that I have too much on my plate and don't want the extra stress?

Whatever your way of making it okay to keep doing those behaviors, attitudes, or substances that relieve your pain momentarily, it is better to face reality and make a commitment to your own well-being. Then, when you've truly made that commitment, the conscious and daily practices that are required to help yourself feel better from the inside out, to fall in love with yourself, to learn how to source your own joy and gratitude—then you will be on the road to true recovery.

As I see it, most of us are addicts in various stages of recovery. Imagine what we could all be like if we committed ourselves to ensuring our own happiness, not blaming others for what happens or doesn't happen for us. That's a world I think most people would like to live in, that is, if they are willing to become aware and join the journey.

Judith Bell, M.S., Master LHEP™

Judith Bell, M.S., Master LHEP™

Judith is the founder and president of Rewire Leadership Institute®. A master facilitator, consultant, teacher, and coach, she has created and facilitated personal growth, team development and organizational change seminars, coached executives and teams, facilitated strategic planning and high visibility meetings, and supported culture change for over four decades. Judith works with a diverse range of companies from government agencies, non-profit, Fortune Global 500, to small and mid-sized family owned businesses including such organizations as NASA, Seaflow, Total Oil, Restoration Hardware, San Antonio Water System, and Culver Company.

Superb at supporting individuals, pairs, and teams in developing the skills necessary to realize their full potential, Judith helps executives, managers, and staff gain the ability to respond flexibly and rapidly to their changing environment. Through extensive experience and research, she utilizes a number of different approaches including the FIRO theory, systems theory, cybernetics, neuroscience, cognitive, positive, and success psychology.

As one of the world’s leading experts on the FIRO theory, she trains consultants internationally. A consultant’s consultant, Judith mentors facilitators, coaches, therapists and other professionals in the integration of the FIRO theory in their work. From 1981 until 2004, she worked closely with Dr. Will Schutz, the creator of FIRO theory. Independently, Judith developed FIRO Theory Profiling, which has been lauded as the first innovation in the FIRO theory instruments aside from Dr. Schutz’ own developments. She continues to develop courses that synthesize her studies and experience and are based in FIRO theory.

Starting in her teenage years, Judith has been a pioneer in her passion for authenticity, clear communication, and positive change. She is lauded for her ability to see others’ potential and help them realize it—be they individuals, pairs, teams, or organizations. Judith’s zest for life, appreciation for others, and generosity of spirit inspires those with whom she works.

An honor’s student at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Judith’s desire and passion to learn about authenticity motivated her to move her studies to The Institute for Creative and Artistic Development (ICAD) in Oakland, California. As the youngest student in their teacher training program, she created and graduated with an undergraduate degree that focused on authenticity through California State University, Sonoma. Continuing on her quest to study authenticity and creativity, Judith began taking courses at California State University, Hayward where she also created and graduated with a unique Master’s degree that focused on communication, transformation, and the creative arts.

Interested in systems and change, Judith began experimenting with her innovative action-oriented approach to assess and intervene with families, groups, and organizations. Through this work, she became a much sought-after instructor, training masters and doctoral students in her seminal work. As chair of a psychology program focused on Creative Arts Therapies at Antioch University, San Francisco, she developed curriculum and continued to serve as guest faculty and lecturer at universities nationwide.

In addition to leading Rewire Leadership, Judith and her husband, Daniel Ellenberg, co-founded Relationships That Work®, where she serves as Vice President. She and Daniel co-authored Lovers for Life: Creating Lasting Passion, Trust, and True Partnership, which applies the principles of Rewire Leadership Institute® to romantic relationships. Recently, they co-authored a chapter in Mastering the Art of Success: Volume 8. With Matt White, Judith recently co-authored Leading with Courage.

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