Is self-preservation keeping you from living?

My father has always been a very wise man and if it wasn’t for him, I would not have the perspectives that I have about life. One thing he has ingrained into my head is that many times it takes a traumatic event for a lesson to be learned. If you think about it, a lot of our feelings such as jealousy, fear and insecurity was introduced to us at a young age by an event that hurt us.

Self-preservation is defined by Google as the protection of oneself from harm or death, especially regarded as a basic instinct in human beings. You wore an outfit and got laughed at. That created a feeling that you did not like. Played a sport and not being the best person on the team. That created a feeling that you did not like. Falling in love and getting heartbroken. That created a feeling you did not like. I can go all day with scenarios and situations that people have gotten a negative feeling from but you get the idea.

Those traumas have created a fear in us and to keep from that feeling coming back, we try to protect ourselves in any way possible. We attempt another sport but now we don’t have as much confidence or put in as much effort. All to keep from having a lot of attention on us so that if we mess up nobody notices. You get the courage to talk to another person but because of the previous relationships’ mess ups, you become controlling to keep you from feeling heartbreak again. You want to be comfortable but afraid to wear that outfit because of the backlash you got last time you wore it. So instead, you wear clothes that are socially acceptable and uncomfortable.

Trust me when I tell you that I know exactly what all of that feels like. I truly understand that many negative traits are are honestly due to previous pain. It took a very long time for me to understand this but I finally understand that trying to stay safe is actually what was hurting me.

I had plenty of painful relationships. The new woman I would allow into my life would say something or do something that reminded me of a trauma from my past relationship and I would allow my feelings of jealousy and distrust control my actions. Not realizing that the new woman’s action was possibly with a completely different intent. I would associate cues such as songs, hobbies and even desires with previous pain and immediately distance myself.

With a lot of pain and always complaining on missing out, I realized the reason why I was missing out was because I was constantly avoiding areas that, at one point, made me feel uncomfortable. When I moved to Hawaii I decided to start completely over. I attempted sports again. I started dating again and I started actually living again. I was not allowing fear to keep me from doing things that I loved. It was not easily at all. I had created a form of habit of self preservation that I had to break. It took self discipline and intention but once I faced it, the fear would slow disappear.

I have been living ever since. I have applied to the job that I was scared I wasn’t good enough for and I got hired. I attended the group engagements surrounded by strangers without fear of embarrassment. Eventually, I started adventures like skydiving and swimming with sharks and giant sea turtles. Hiking mountains and attacking my worst fear of rollercoasters. I have learned in all areas to reteach myself that the feelings of self preservation are not necessarily going to keep me alive. It just kept me from doing anything that made me feel alive.

So, if you are somebody that feels like you are missing out or feel that there is more that you can be doing but not doing it because of past traumas, do yourself a favor and try it again. This time do it with a mindset of a fresh start and create a new feeling. If you get into a relationship, don’t allow your past fears to keep you from enjoying the person for who they are. Take the risk. Apply for the job. Date the amazing guy/or girl. Go to the group engagements. Climb the mountain. Take the plain flight. Leave the country. Change your environment and live.

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