If a person goes into their backyard and sees a huge bear three feet away from them, a few things may happen. Either they will be frozen in fear, run back into the house, or they will attempt to fight off the ferocious animal. This traumatizing event now becomes part of the person's life and stays with them for years to come.
This seems to hold true for all of life's curve balls that come our way. And therefore as we enter circumstances that are oh so similar to these traumatizing experiences we endured, we expect the exact same outcome to take place. Even though it's a whole new situation that offers new outcomes and new conclusions. As a defense mechanism, our brain says STOP!!!! DANGER!!!! A sort of hesitation sets in which has been embedded as a pattern of fear. It is something that our mind does to protect ourselves.
Fight or flight:
1. the instinctive physiological response to a threatening situation, which readies one either to resist forcibly or to run away.
Most people live their entire existence either running away from the pain they felt or by running toward pleasurable situations. That's mostly it... We are people that say, "oh that person hurt me. I will never let that happen again."
And as a result we tend to keep people at bay and do not let them get close to our hearts. We simply avoid love and avoid participating in what could be a beautiful life to prevent the sheer possibility of being hurt and let down. The initial hurt was just too much to bear. This reaction is almost innate and done unconsciously.
In episodes 9-12 of "Connected," you can clearly see this innate reaction take place when my boyfriend Josh gives me a promise ring. At that moment I should have felt overwhelmed with love, excitement and pure happiness. But to the contrary I felt like the person entering the backyard who spotted the big ferocious bear. I began to panic and was overcome with fear.
For me, this bear that I keep referring to symbolizes my failed marriage. So to protect myself from feeling that pain again I immediately jumped into defense mode.
But this is all wrong. Living with this fear of the past prevents us from being happy in the present. My brain was trying to protect me from the fear of failure that is so deeply embedded in my mind. I kept on repeating, "It's not an engagement ring, right?!?"
I repeated it three times.
Were those really my choice of words when the man I love was expressing his love to me with this beautiful gesture?
I ruined it. I missed out on being in the present during this magnificence. Realizing this made me question the way I see the world and the woman I want to become. I don't want to raise fearful children. I want them to be powerful and make wonderful positive choices not based on fear. So for myself, for my boyfriend and my future children I am making a change. And going forward, I will ask myself, "am I making this choice out of fear or love?"
I no longer want to be a runner. I want to be the creator of my own reality.
Every experience is a new experience and we should treat it as such. It's just as no two snowflakes are alike. Let go of the past and give in to the future as the risk of hurt is worth the reward of happiness.