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How Playing It Safe Can Ruin Your Life

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Have you ever missed out on a great opportunity because you played it safe?

Think about it. Look back over your life and think about the things you could have done. The opportunities you could have taken, the people you could have befriended, the experiences you could have savoured.

But back then those things seemed scary and risky. Wanting to play it safe, you elected to stay in your comfort zone at the time.

From where you sit now, you can easily and clearly see that you should have acted upon some of those things. In retrospect, those things were scary or risky at all – just different and new. They were, in all actuality, blessings that you walked away from.

It’s a sobering and outright sad feeling, isn’t it?

 

Playing It Safe Isn’t About Safety At All

You’re not the only one who has done that. Most of us have a tendency to play it safe.

Some of us equate playing it safe with being sensible and prudent. But most of the time, it’s something else all together.

The real problem isn’t safety or risk at all. The real problem is fear.

As humans, we are hard-wired to allow fear into our decision making. Most of us simply don’t understand fear, where it comes from, or the role it plays in what we choose to do or not do.

By understanding it more, you can prevent fear from clouding your decision-making process.

 

It’s Not Brain Surgery

What if I were to tell you that there was a little tiny part of your brain that pre-wires you to avoid risk and play it safe? Well, there actually is.

It’s called the amygdala and it plays a big part in what motivates us to behave the way we do. One of the functions of the amygdala is processing emotions – particularly those associated with survival. Like the emotion of fear for instance.

When you are in a familiar situation that you know to be safe, your amygdala is happy and secure – and so are you. But when something new or seemingly risky comes along, the amygdala kicks into high gear. It lets you know, “Hey, we’re outside our comfort zone here. Retreat! Withdrawal!”

Sometimes that reaction can save your life. Other times it can hold you back from a more fulfilling life.

The trick is learning to know the difference between valid fears of very real danger to our safety – and invalid fears of something new.

 

Mauled or Embarrassed – The Choice Is Yours

There are basically two types of decisions we make when we perceive danger or consequences. The first type, I call safe decisions – which are survival based. They keep us alive and assure we have adequate food and shelter. The second type I refer to as fearful decisions – which tend to keep us from taking less life-threatening risks and prevent us from spreading our wings.

Let’s take a look at some examples of both.

Safe or Feaurful

Safe decisions come from a very real fear of severe consequences to your health, life, or quality of life – while fearful decisions come from someplace completely different.

Look at that right hand column. If any one of those scenarios goes as badly as it’s capable of going, what happens? Does anyone die, go to prison, or lose their shelter? No. As it turns out the things we fear most seem to be much more about our feelings than they are about very serious consequences.

“I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them have never happened.” – Mark Twain

 

Our Five Most Common Baseless Fears

In my professional life, I’ve noticed time and time again that there are five major feelings-based fears that people let trip them up on their path to a better life. You’ll notice that they’re all very closely related.

 

1: Fear of failure

Have you ever passed on an opportunity to try something truly exciting because you were afraid you might fail at it? I have. The ironic thing is the fact that if you don’t try, you’ve already failed. So there’s really not much to lose. And yet we talk ourselves into believing that by not risking failure we’re somehow better off.

 

2: Fear of rejection

If you pitched your idea to the boss, or asked out that cute girl you like, or submitted your novel to a publisher, you might get rejected – and rejection hurts. So instead of feeling that emotion, we limit our potential and call it “playing it safe.”

 

3: Fear of inadequacy

This one usually manifests itself as, “I’m not good enough to do this thing I really want to do.” While this fear doesn’t necessarily originate from survival instinct, it’s no less powerful than any of the others.

 

4: Fear of unworthiness

Closely related to the fear of inadequacy, the self-talk associated with the fear of unworthiness sounds like, “Who am I to think that I might achieve that thing?” It comes from a place of humility, which normally is a good thing. But it’s also self-deprecating and destructive.

 

5: Fear of further commitment

This one should sound familiar, because we’re all guilty of it from time to time. We don’t always pass on opportunity because we’re afraid that we’re not good enough. Sometimes we know darn well that we’re good enough, but the ramifications of succeeding and the additional commitment needed after success is achieved scare the bejesus out of us.

 

Fighting Emotion With Logic

So now that you know that these fears are normal and that you’re not the only one who struggles with them, the question becomes: What can you do to get over them?

I find that instead of fighting raw innate human fears head-to-head, it’s best to use logic to take their power away.

When you find yourself letting any of those fears stop you from bettering yourself, run yourself through these three questions:

 

1: What is the worst thing that could happen if I ignored my fear and did this?

Take out a pen and paper and list all the potential (realistic) consequences. Would there be a loss of life, health, or livelihood? Or is the real risk just having to temporarily deal with an uncomfortable emotion like rejection or embarrassment?

 

2: What is the absolute best thing that could happen if I ignored my fear and went for it?

List all these, too. How might your life be different? What things might you learn? Who might you have the opportunity to connect with?

 

3: Are the possible consequences under #1 worth the potential benefits under #2?

Take a good look at both lists and give this question some thought. If the consequence of a particular action is death and the upside is a 10% pay raise – then your choice is simple. Avoid death.

But if the consequence of your action is rejection and the potential benefit is your dream career, swallow your fear and go for it.

 

Logic Tames The Beast

I know this seems incredibly simple – and it is. It’s simple and obvious because we just took an emotional issue and made it logical.

When you take the emotional power away from your fear and look at the situation as data – good decisions become much easier.

Do me a favor. The next time you find yourself “playing it safe”, run yourself through this quick exercise. Reduce the emotional to the logical. Then come back and let us know how things turned out.

 

Time to speak up!

Share a time when you felt fearful but took the leap anyway. Or share a tip about taking calculated risks.

 

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Life

The Imbalanced Problem with Work/Life Balance

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5 Indicators of Unresolved Attachment Trauma

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Emotional Attachment Trauma

Trauma caused during specific stages of a child’s development, known as attachment trauma, can have lasting effects on a person’s sense of safety, security, predictability, and trust. This type of trauma is often the result of abuse, neglect, or inconsistent care from a primary caregiver.

Individuals who have not fully processed attachment trauma may display similar patterns of behavior and physical or psychological symptoms that negatively impact their adult lives, including the choices they make in relationships and business.

Unfortunately, many people may not even be aware that they are struggling with trauma. Research estimates that 6% of the population will experience PTSD in their lifetime, with a majority of males and females having experienced significant trauma.

Unresolved attachment trauma can significantly impair the overall quality of a person’s life, including their ability to form healthy relationships and make positive choices for themselves. One well-known effect of unhealed attachment trauma is the compulsion to repeat past wounds by unconsciously selecting romantic partners who trigger their developmental trauma.

However, there are other less recognized but equally detrimental signs of unprocessed developmental trauma.

 

Five possible indications of unresolved attachment trauma are:

 

1.  Unconscious Sabotage

Self-sabotage is a common pattern among individuals with unprocessed attachment trauma. This cycle often begins with hurting others, which is then followed by hurting oneself. It is also common for those with attachment trauma to have heightened emotional sensitivity, which can trigger this cycle.

This pattern can manifest in lashing out, shutting down, or impulsive behavior that leads to feelings of guilt, shame, and self-loathing.

Many people with attachment trauma are not aware of their wounds and operate on survival mode, unconsciously testing or challenging the emotional investment of those around them, and pushing them away out of self-preservation and fear of abandonment.

This can lead to a pattern of making poor choices for themselves based on impulsivity.

 

2. Persistent Pain

 
Chronic pain is a common symptom that can stem from early trauma. Studies have shown a connection between physical conditions such as fibromyalgia, headaches, gastrointestinal issues, insomnia, muscle aches, back pain, chest pain, and chronic fatigue with the aftermath of chronic developmental trauma, particularly physical abuse.
 
Research has found that individuals with insecure attachment styles, such as anxious, avoidant, or disorganized, have a higher incidence of somatic symptoms and a history of physical and emotional abuse in childhood compared to those with a secure attachment style.
 
 

3. Behaviors That Block Out Trauma

 
Trauma blocking practises are used to avoid the pain and memories connected with traumatic events.
 
Emotional numbing, avoidance, and escape via briefly pleasurable activities that distract from terrible memories or suffering are common examples. Unfortunately, this escape habit stops people from successfully processing and recovering from their trauma.
 
Furthermore, when the pain resurfaces, more and more diversions are necessary to continue ignoring it. This can be seen in compulsive behaviours such as drug or alcohol addiction, emotional eating, numbing oneself through relationships, workaholism, excessive or dangerous exercise routines, compulsive internet or technology use, or any other compulsive behaviour used to distract yoursef from intrusive thoughts and emotions.
 
These actions have the potential to prolong a cycle of avoidance and repression, preventing persons from healing and progressing.
 

4. A strong need for control

 
It’s understandable that some people may struggle with control issues in their adult lives, especially if they felt helpless or vulnerable during their childhood.
 
This can happen if someone had an overbearing caregiver who didn’t let them make their own choices, expected too much from them, or didn’t take care of them properly. As adults, they might try to control everything in their life to feel more in control and less anxious or scared. This might be because they didn’t feel like they had control over their life when they were a child.
 
It’s important to remember that everyone’s experiences are different and it’s okay to seek help if you’re struggling with control issues.
 
 

5. Psychological Symptoms That Are Not Explained

 
Individuals with a history of developmental trauma may experience a range of psychological symptoms, including obsessive-compulsive behavior, intense mood swings, irritability, anger, depression, emotional numbing, or severe anxiety.
 
These symptoms can vary in intensity and may occur intermittently throughout the day. People with this type of trauma may attempt to “distract” themselves from these symptoms by denying or rationalizing them, or may resort to substance abuse or behavioral addictions as coping mechanisms. This can be a maladaptive way of trying to numb their symptoms.
 
 

What to do next if you’re suffering from emotional attachment trauma?

 
Everyone’s experience of healing from trauma is unique. It’s important to be aware of whether you have experienced childhood developmental trauma and how it may be affecting your relationships as an adult. Sometimes, the effects of trauma can be overwhelming and we may try to push them away or avoid them.
 
If you notice that you’re engaging in these behaviors, it’s important to seek help from a trauma therapist who can support you on your healing journey. Remember, you’re not alone and it’s never too late to start healing.
 

There are several ways that people can work to overcome emotional attachment trauma:

  1. Therapy: One of the most effective ways to overcome emotional attachment trauma is through therapy. A therapist can help you process your experiences, understand the impact of your trauma on your life, and develop coping strategies to manage symptoms.
  2. Support groups: Joining a support group of people who have had similar experiences can be a great way to find validation, empathy, and a sense of community.
  3. Mindfulness practices: Mindfulness practices such as meditation, pilates, prayer time with God or journaling can help you become more aware of your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations, and develop a sense of spiritual connection and self-regulation.
  4. Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (TF-CBT): This is a type of therapy that is specifically designed to help individuals process and recover from traumatic events.
  5. Building a safety net: Building a support system of people you trust, who are there for you when you need them, can help you feel more secure and safe in your life.

It’s important to remember that healing from emotional attachment trauma is a process and it may take time. It’s also important to find a therapist who is experienced in treating trauma, who you feel comfortable talking with, and who can help you develop a personalized treatment plan.

 
 
If you desire to work with me on healing your wounds and unlocking the aspects of you that were never realized so you can achieve more success in your life then head over to awebliss.com and join my weekly LIVE online mentorship calls.
 
 
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