Are your defensive strategies making you safe or leaving your scared? When you develop a defensive strategy ask yourself this:-
Does this make me feel better in the short term, but leave me constantly having to protect against the problem? For instance by avoiding the situation that frightens me do I temporary appease my anxiety but prevent myself from developing the knowledge and confidence to face it in the future.
All too often avoidance is a defensive strategy we develop to deal with our anxieties or insecurities, learning how to duck and dive, narrowly averting confrontation with our dreaded experience, or at least that is how it feels.
While we think this is the only solution, these defensive strategies actually feed our fears, giving us a sense of relief when we avert that very thing we dread. Unfortunately this means the next time you want to experience that relief, you will simply avoid.
So when you fear flying and choose instead a holiday where you can drive or travel by train to your destination, you actually feed your fear of flying! Instead of making you feel secure, it makes you feel safe as long as you…!
So what is your condition of safety?
Once you identify this, you will have identified what action you have adopted that feeds your anxieties, drives your insecurities and steals your power. Tackling this begins with recognising how your defensive strategy is actually working against you.
This is no easy ask because after years of seeming to ‘work’ for you, providing you with a sense of comfort and relief in those really difficult moments, identifying, questioning and possibly even replacing these is a really tall order.
But it is not impossible, so simply begin by asking ‘What is my condition of safety?’