There’s an exercise that can help us reflect on the knee-jerk tendency to cling to what makes us feel good and push away what makes us feel bad:
Sit quietly for a few minutes and become mindful of your breath as it goes in and out. Then contemplate what you do when you’re unhappy or dissatisfied and want to feel better. Even make a list if you want to. Then ask yourself: Does it work? Has it ever worked? Does it soothe the pain? Does it escalate the pain? If you’re really honest, you’ll come up with some pretty interesting observations.
Pema Chödrön, Living Beautifully: with Uncertainty and Change