Who would you be if you were living as your best self? What would you look like? How would you spend your time? What habits would you have or not have?

Why do you think you’re not living that version of yourself?

There are many reasons, conscious and unconscious, that we stay stuck in unhealthy or unsatisfying behaviors. In this week’s Real Love Revolution video, I am going to teach you a way to reveal your secondary gain. These are the more hidden or covert reasons for staying stuck. Why can’t we lose the weight, stop binging Netflix or leave the bad relationship? Whatever your circumstance is, why you stay stuck is as unique as you are. It’s certainly not because you want to be miserable or because you’re “crazy,” there’s an actual psychological device at work here.

A simple way of understanding secondary gain is by looking at what feelings or situation you get to avoid by staying stuck. So it’s not a primary gain because no one consciously wants to stay stuck but when you start to uncover the ‘benefit’ you receive from not solving the problem, you will have a better shot of resolving it. For example, an alcoholic might stay stuck in that unhealthy behavior because the secondary gain they are receiving is numbing the feelings they are afraid to feel. A person who doesn’t date a lot receives the secondary gain of never having to be vulnerable. Understanding secondary gain is a tool that you can use in all areas of your life.

In this video, I am going to cover:

  • Defining Secondary Gain
  • Examples of Secondary Gains
  • Why People Stay Stuck
  • How to Use Secondary Gain to Understand Yourself (And to Change!!)


Also, I want to clarify that secondary gain and a hidden agenda are two different things. If you ask a pal who owns a country house, what summer plans they have, with the hope they will invite you to their home; that is a hidden agenda. Unlike secondary gain, a hidden agenda is not subconscious; the person who holds it is fully aware.

Secondary gain can be challenging because much of the time the benefits are hidden and counterintuitive and your motive subconscious. Also, the reason for taking a particular action is not always a justification. As I stated above, an addict may use drugs or alcohol to avoid feeling pain from childhood abuse. The abuse is not an excuse for addictive behavior but it does provide a deeper understanding of how self-medication became so compelling.

Once you start using this lens with which to view any area you find yourself stuck, your secondary gain will start to become obvious. Understanding yourself more deeply can become the catalyst to change what’s not working so you can create a life that thrills you!

Download the Secondary Gains Blueprint, which is a list of empowered questions, to find out the unconscious secondary gain you’re receiving by not changing your situation. With the first question, Who am I if I’m not (fill in your blank) overweight, drinking nightly, sick, stressed out, etc., you have to be able to imagine yourself without this crutch, without the thing that you say you don’t want, in order to create a life without it. Any anxieties or fears you may have are real feelings, and feelings are very powerful. We can respect and honor our feelings without letting them run the show!

Click here to watch this video now!

Terri Cole is a licensed psychotherapist, transformation coach, and an expert at turning fear into freedom. Sign up for Terri’s weekly Newsletter, check out her blog and follow her on Twitter.

Image courtesy of Unsplash.