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Freedom from Self Defeating Behavior

By Guy Finley

An angel has two wings. On each of these wings is written one of these two words: YES and NO. As we are about to learn, these two simple words represent special principles that are the wings of spiritual freedom.

For instance, we must learn to say YES to self-study, prayer, meditation and contemplating God’s great restorative powers. Can you think of other places in your days where learning to say YES to life would help you go higher? For just one example, how about saying YES to those parts of you that know nothing good can come out of judging others for their mistakes, let alone jumping all over yourself!

And we must learn to say NO to those unconscious parts of ourselves that want us to believe that the way our lives have gone is the only way they can go. We must say NO to the lies this lower nature throws at us when it tells us we will lose ourselves if we end that destructive relationship we had been deceived to live in. The truth is it won’t be our life that comes to a close as we walk away from what we now see never worked. No! What will begin to die is the dark nature whose will we had done, because it cannot live in the light of our new wish and inner work to be free.

To help you strengthen the spiritual YES in you, learn to put Truth first, last, and always in your life. This grand YES will grow to have greater and greater meaning to you as you put it into practice. To give you one instance, always say YES to being ruthlessly honest with yourself about yourself. It doesn’t matter where you are or what you are doing, you can always come awake to yourself and remember the truth that there is no truth that is bad for you to know. This knowledge, coupled with your active wish to be free, outweighs any fear that may pop up in you as you observe yourself this way. This remembrance is like liquid gold. It enriches the right parts of you each time you can be aware of yourself through this Aim.

But equally important to taking on this task of saying YES is our inner work of recognizing when and where to say NO. We must never allow ourselves to forget that there are many sleeping parts of ourselves that secretly feel good while they get us to do wrong! Remember: no form of externalized codependent behavior can exist or exhibit itself without some unseen character at work within us providing it the right conditions it needs for its foul life to flourish. With this in mind, here are some common codependent areas where we all ache (often without knowing it) because we fail to stay awake:

  1. Making “peace” with people who would punish us:
    There are parts of us that would rather be punished by unkind people than have to spend one minute being alone by ourselves, because the only way these same parts in us can exist is if they have someone to resent or somehow fear. In this case we remain in these ruinous relationships because the fear or emptiness we feel in even considering leaving them is felt to be too much to bear on our own. Here’s the Key to escaping this captivity: This fear does feel real, no doubt; but it belongs to an imagined self. Collecting and then consciously cultivating this new knowledge of ourselves points the way out if we will walk with its truth in our hand.

    To begin, walk away from anyone who “helps” you to feel that it is necessary to hurt; leave anyone who causes you pain for “your own good”. Here’s the rule to remember: Never make peace outwardly — or inwardly — with anyone or any psychological state that punishes you. Say NO and go! A whole new and independent life awaits you.

  2. Blaming others:
    Whenever we allow angry parts of us to cast blame upon others for the conditions we find ourselves in, we enable the sleeping nature within us to stay in its dream that if it weren’t for others doing us wrong we would never be so upset and angry, defeated or depressed. The truth is there are unconscious parts of us that readily find fault with others in a misguided effort to remain infallible in their own eyes. Each time we blame someone else we agree to remain asleep in this misery-making mistaken identity. Saying NO to this nature is saying goodbye to a host of imagined enemies this false self needs to remain itself, as well as to a war that can never be won.
  3. Complaining about your life:
    The self that looks out at life and complains about what it sees cannot see that if it weren’t for a false picture it holds of how things should be, connected with the mistaken sense of self created by clinging to this picture, it wouldn’t have anything to be negative about. The more this nature compares what life isn’t to its own idea of imagined happiness, the more it complains, and the more complaints it makes, the more real it feels. Say NO to this codependent negative nature by learning to choose consciousness over resentfulness.

What should be clear now is that we have to do a special kind of inner work if we wish to catch and cancel self-harming codependent behavior. It’s not enough to just talk about achieving a good, contented life. Anyone can talk about that, and most do. Few will really do the interior work it takes to be free, which is why we must be different.

We must learn what it means to put the Truth of ourselves before all things. When we will strive to do this one thing, then little by little we will attract to ourselves a higher strength that has no problem saying NO to what has never cared for us. This new NO then becomes a YES to self-wholeness, the secret source of the happiness we have been seeking in all the wrong places.


Guy Finley is the best-selling author of more than 40 books and audio albums on self-realization. He is the founder and director of Life of Learning Foundation, a nonprofit center for self-study located in southern Oregon where he gives talks four times each week. For more information get your free Guy Finley Starter Kit. You will receive several free downloadable gifts including a special newsletter filled with helpful insights and encouragement emailed to you once each week


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