In the last two minutes of this fascinating interview by Krista Tippet, Ellen Langer tells a story about an insurance adjuster being surprised Dr. Langer wasn’t more upset about losing her possessions in a house fire.
Well, gee, you know, it’s already taken my stuff, whatever that means. Why give it my soul? (…) Why pay twice? Which is what people so often do. Something happens, you have that loss, and then you’re going to now throw all your emotional energy at it.
By asking “Why pay twice?” Dr. Langer points out our illogical tendency to double-down on traumatic experiences. The emotional aftermath of a house fire / loss of a job / rejection can often be worse than the event itself. The hard part is recognizing how often we choose to pay twice.
Maybe when you’re offended by someone, you choose to make sure they know how mad you are. It may not affect them as negatively as it does you. Basically, you paid once when they hurt you and a second payment was made by laying down any joy or excitement you could have experienced.
When we have been wronged, our transactional mindset believes someone must pay. Little do we realize that payment comes out of our own account.
You can hear the beautifully edited interview.
Listen to the entire, unedited and glorious interview.