I had a bit of an epiphany this weekend, after a bout of soul-searching. I know most people are perfectly happy to live unexamined lives; they get up each day and go through the motions without worrying why they make the decisions they make or react to things the way they do. I am from the other school of thought: EXAMINE EVERYTHING. I'm not saying this is better; there are plenty of times I make myself neurotic with over-examining every detail of everything, and I'm sure I could do with a chill-out now and again. But, I am, I suppose, an inveterate internal sleuth: I must get to the bottom of my own motivations.
It was on one of these psychological fact-finding missions in the wilds of my brain that I came to understand something interesting about myself. I've said before that much of what I do comes from fear, but I have realized recently that this is not the bottom floor of my subconscious. Just one floor lower lies the overwhelming desire, the almost overpowering need to feel safe.
Now, I don't know where exactly this need comes from. I don't know what happened to me in my childhood that prompts everything else to stem from this drive for safety and security. But, I realized that it is probably the biggest motivator for what I do. Each decision I make starts with the analysis of whether or not I will stay safe in the outcome.
Is safety a good motivator? I don't know. It stops me from doing things, oftentimes. I will avoid risks or confrontations that perhaps I ought to undertake, simply because my personal police force determines they are too hazardous to my security. We're not talking about walking alone at night in a bad neighborhood; that's just common sense. We're talking not changing jobs because of financial security, no matter how much I hate what I do. Or not pursuing a guy I really might like because--shocker--I really might like him, and that opens me up to pain. The desire for safety has become such a motivator that it makes me really wonder why that is. I cannot think why I would value safety so highly, and until I understand that, it will be hard to push past.
I guess it's back to internal sleuthing . . . .