Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Safe . . .

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 . . . .

1 comment:

Kimba said...

I know it's easy for me to say "stop fearing" but it's true. Your need for safety is the partner to the fear, as they both make you vulnerable. You have to decide what is more important to you overall, safety or living life? Because you aren't TRULY living (IMO) unless you take those risks, at least educated ones.Some of the absolutely best, most enriching, soul changing experiences I've had were because I took the risk and didn't play it safe. Good Luck!