Sep 30, 2011

Risk-Reward Life

Tonight brought me an epiphany. I have certain tendencies that have been derived over years of being kicked back and forth by life. Friends, family, strangers people are designed to look out for themselves, and most are quite happy to do so. In this vein we are capable of some serious damage to each other. Not only physically but arguably more damaging are the long term psychological and emotional injuries. Those aren't as simple to heal. Because when those injuries occur there isn't a stitch or medicine or a visible way to tell when you're hurt much less when you are healed.

Psychological and emotional injuries cause scars that can be evident immediately or not for years down the road. When we accumulate enough of them it is only natural to expect a defense to be constructed. People are also not designed to simply take beating after beating with no response. These defense mechanisms we make are our responses to the anxiety and insecurities that those injuries have caused, and the apprehension that they could happen again. We want to protect ourselves, and while there is nothing wrong with that we are also inhibiting ourselves from experiencing life outside of expecting a beating. When we impose our defense mechanisms on those in our lives we also place them forcibly in the role of those that have hurt us in the past.

I have always had a simple motto in the back of my mind: Your past informs your present, but does not have to dictate your future. I think on some level I knew this day would come. A zero-point where the hurts and scars of the past would have to be released, not forgotten, but simply they would have to be subjected to a place in my mind where they could no longer hurt me. I will always have those experiences, and those scars, and I am wiser for each and every one of them. But they have been dictating my life, and they haven't been doing me any good. My life is a mess. What I have been doing, the point I have been operating from is clearly not working. What do I have to lose by choosing another path? Absolutely nothing. There is risk, but if you can't take a risk on yourself then how can you ever take a risk on someone else?

The hurts of the past didn't kill me, they wanted to, but they failed. I didn't give in. That knowledge gives me a sort of pride, not in the fact that those times did happen, but in the fact that I got through them. It gives me the confidence to know that I can take risks and if I get hurt then I get hurt. Life is one long chain of risk and reward when you think about it. They don't have to balance, you may risk everything and never see a reward, you may get a reward with no risks (hello, trust fund babies!). Most people just aren't like that though. Most people will never see a reward if they don't accept the risk.

Tonight I had a moment where I realized that if you never change your expectations, then your response never changes and you never get a different result. All this because a situation smacked me in the face that reminded me of the past, and those memories came back. I was about to have a panic attack and assume the worse with no indication that the story would be the same. I was already reaching for the walls, the indifference and the detachment before I realized it was one long self-fulfilling prophecy.

Hurts or no hurts, it's worth it. And to hell with the people who had me convinced that I wasn't worth it.

I want my different result, and I will get it.


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