Phrases that Mislead-Part 6

By Greg Baer M.D.

March 21, 2016

In Real Love groups, conference calls, and other Real Love interactions, certain phrases have crept into use that are not consistent with the principles of Real Love, or that might cause confusion by their use. Recently I began a discussion of such phrases in the blogs listed below: 

Phrases that Mislead, Part 5 
Phrases that Mislead, Part 4 
Phrases that Mislead, Part 3 
Phrases that Mislead, Part 2 
Phrases that Mislead, Part 1 

and now we’ll continue. In this blog we will discuss one such phrase, and in subsequent blogs we’ll talk about some others.


As people describe their feelings or behaviors, they commonly say:

“I was in fear.”
“I was in behaviors.”

The problem with these expressions is the word “in,” because it often implies some involuntary component to the feeling or behavior. Look at some examples of the use of this word:

  • “I think I’m in trouble.” (Trouble is happening TO me. I didn’t choose it.)
  • “I was standing in the rain.” (“Standing” is a choice, but the implication is usually that we had no choice about being “in” the rain.)
  • “I’m in pain.” (People usually believe that pain isn’t something we choose. Rather, we are victims of pain.)

In short, the word “in” is usually passive and promotes a sense of victimhood. So how could we improve these expressions?

First, we can completely eliminate “in behaviors,” because it’s far too non-specific. Which behavior? What feeling?

Second, we can actively take more responsibility for how we feel:

  •  “When my husband expressed his opinion of what I was doing, I chose to hear it as criticism, and because I don’t feel sufficiently worthwhile yet, I felt afraid and withdrew from him.”
  •  “When the group didn’t accept my suggestion, I felt a twinge of fear that my opinion wasn’t worthwhile. Then instead of remembering all the love I do have, I thought of all the people who haven’t loved me, and—sure enough—that fed my fear, and I reacted by sulking.”
  • “When my boss told me the report I did wasn’t what he wanted, I didn’t listen and learn from what he was saying. Instead I chose to take it personally. I became afraid and then chose to be angry at him.”

When we take more responsibility for our feelings, we can begin to choose different judgments, which changes the ways we feel and behave.

In future blogs we’ll discuss more phrases that can be misleading in our discussions of Real Love.

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About the author 

Greg Baer, M.D.

I am the founder of The Real Love® Company, Inc, a non-profit organization. Following the sale of my successful ophthalmology practice I have dedicated the past 25 years to teaching people a remarkable process that replaces all of life's "crazy" with peace, confidence and meaning in various aspects of their personal lives, including parenting, marriages, the workplace and more.

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