PREVIOUS: Risk Addicted
Risk of any kind usually entails some type of action (T.E.A). Average-functioning people, when deciding what to do – ahead of time or in the moment – use some kind of thought process, even if they only have a few seconds to consider. Thinking it thru includes:
— considering your aspirations – hopes, dreams AND level of desire
— the short or long-term goal
— having the skill or knowledge needed to at least try
— knowing your expectations (to succeed or to fail)
— weighing pros & cons of the situation
— considering the possible consequences, both for oneself, & in terms of what is socially acceptable
— “how important is it”! (whether to push or not)
• However, many ACoAs do not use realistic thinking in evaluating Risk – it’s either faulty or missing. Anxiety pushes some to act impulsively (R-addicted), & terror holds others back from even trying (R-averse). Which type you are is based on your native personality & how you reacted to constant chaos & abuse as a kid.
• ACoAs are trained to be perfectionist – only our actions counted in the family & we could never be good enough – so nothing satisfied them. Even raising our hand in class can be too much of a risk. What is we don’t know the answer? What if we’re made fun of? NOW we’re bound to fail down or become paralyzed from setting the bar for every accomplishment so high for ourselves —
— that we can’t possible reach it (such as – make everyone like us!)
— because we don’t know what’s realistic, or consider our current reality
— we’re trying to fulfill someone else’s dreams or demands, not ours
— it might be reachable if we had reasonable self-esteem & ‘permission’
— we could reach it if we cut each task down into small enough chunks!
Sadly, to the outside world this looks like we don’t set the bar high enough, so we may be labeled as lazy, stupid or crazy. We are NOT. It’s our terror (E) & CDs (cognitive distortions) that stop us or make us do the wrong things.
SCIENCE: When it comes to taking actions, animals & people can generally be divided into ‘sitters’ & ‘rovers’. In our culture it’s the “Just do it” (Action) vs. the “Look before you leap” (Thinking) people. We are born more one than the other, but when mixed with our damage it gives us the -averse or -addict types. Each native style has it’s advantages & disadvantages, depending on the circumstances, & neither should look down their noses at the other! (MORE… w/ examples….)
➼ Mini-Inventory – start by owning your natural propensity. List the ways it has helped or hindered you & why. Consider how sometimes acting from the opposite style would be to your advantage, when used appropriately. List the ways you could practice doing some things in your life from that other perspective. Try them out & see what happens.
Healthy risk-taking, like all other aspects of mental health – is rooted in balance. What are you trying to achieve in each situation? It takes knowledge (T) & experience (A) to know what we want & then practice various ways to get it. Finding a balance between considering all the possible outcomes (T) & just taking a leap of faith (A) requires knowing ourselves & also how the real world works.
Appropriate risk-taking is:
• necessary to move forward in any aspect of our life. Do something.
• NOT about perfectionism (a form of self-hate)
• usually not physically dangerous, AND not as emotionally dangerous as our WIC or PP think it’ll be
Healthy risks are:
• mostly smaller ones (like: making cold calls, talking to a stranger at an ‘event’, asking for help)
• occasionally bigger ones (like: moving to a different state, changing careers, getting a divorce…)
• evaluated for realistic advantages & disadvantages
• which negative extreme we habitually come from, & exactly what would be a middle ground, to swing to the opposite unhealthy side
• where we are emotionally on our path, based on self-knowledge & guidance from healthy people, to decide what changes we can handle & what’s too much, for now
• who can help us over a hump (of fear): ask a safe friend to sit with you, go with you, let you be at their place… while you try a new, scary action
• think through the consequences of our actions, not using self-hate or co-dependence or fear of abandonment (FoA) as a guide line
• seriously consider the consequences – to you – of not taking any action
• try out something small & see what happens. It may turn our OK or great. If it doesn’t, figure out what the problem is & try something else.
One of the benefits AND joys of healthy risk-taking is finding out that POSITIVE outcomes are possible, when guided by our ‘UNIT‘ (Healthy Adult & Loving Parent) rather than by the WIC or PP. Using the tool of Book-Ending with your Inner Child is one way to find out what’s possible & what’s not. The following is the abbreviated version. (Read posts on B-E)
MOST IMP: No matter the outcome – catch & stop any form of self-hate. ONLY Acceptance, Acceptance, Acceptance
NEXT: MIND-READING vs Intuition – #1