One of the most difficult lessons we must face in our effort to win the war within ourselves has to do with the truth about our relationship with our own negative states: they fascinate us. That's right! But, why do we value them so? The answer will surprise you.
We value negative states because of the strong sense of self we get from them. This may be very difficult for us to see, but a strong light will show us the freeing facts. No one wants to believe that he or she values things like self-pity, anger, and depression. We would insist we don't, and as evidence we point to the fact that we fight against them, but the struggle gives us a false sense of life and importance. It focuses attention on us and makes us feel like the center of a great deal of activity. The more we struggle, the more valuable these states become, because the more interesting and exciting they make us feel. We never feel our selves so strongly as when we are furious, or hurt, or depressed. Of course, this self is a created self, a false self. But it feels real, and that's why we cling to it. The power in the state is that by giving it our life, it feeds back to us a false sense of life and power. And as a result, we miss out on the real life we could experience if we were not filling ourselves with the false.
Can you see what we've done? We've unmasked the secret power of all negative states. A false part of us derives a sense of reality when it is bombarded by negative feelings. Because it values the sense of self it gets, it focuses attention on the state and feeds it our life energy. It builds up a structure of thoughts around the state that justifies it and keeps it going. All of this is done at the expense of who we really are. Our understanding of this deception gives us the power to win victory over these states because it shows us that we can do something else with those states that will reveal them to be powerless.