Survival Mode

Have you wondered why people do things that are not in their best interest?

They may even agree that their behavior is not healthy and still do it!

It is like something else drives them.

What if this driving force is the need for “survival”?

If you are lost in a jungle and you feel that you are in danger (real or imaginary), a sense of survival kicks in. You will behave differently and will feel very tense.

Need for survival (avoiding death) may not be just physical. It may be emotional as well. Both of them feel similar.

Some triggers for survival may be previous traumas or ancestral memories in our DNA.

Let us assume that we deeply want to be valued because the feeling of not being valued/worthy scares us enough that we believe our survival is at risk.

We may believe that the best way to be valued is to make lots of money or become famous (at the expense of our health and relationships).

We also agree moderation in work is healthy, but rarely do it in action.  We may even get upset at our own behavior for not doing the right thing.

It is very frustrating and demoralizing. Why is there a discrepancy between our actions and words?   

We are in survival mode!!!

It does not matter if we agree working for long hours is not good for us.

By trying to reduce work hours (vacation or a different job), we may temporarily eliminate the symptom.  

We need to deal with the root cause and not just the symptoms to eliminate the situation.

Taking Tylenol for an infected tooth is a temporary remedy of symptom. The root cause fix still needs to be addressed.

In my opinion, depression, rage, hate, co-dependent behaviors, taking and many forms of addictions are all symptoms. They need to be corrected and root cause needs to be addressed as well.

Why? Because we are still in survival mode, and fear is driving our actions/inactions.

How do we know we are in survival mode?

Being constantly restless (busy) or feeling numb and not enjoying our lives can be the clues.

Before we judge others’ undesirable behaviors or our own, we need to understand most of the undesirable behaviors are symptoms.

This does not justify the behavior, but provides understanding toward its root cause.

If you are frustrated with some of your behaviors, be understanding and kind to yourself.  Often, your survival skills also become your strength.

You are doing your best based on your current beliefs! What triggers a sense of survival in you is real at this moment.

The most effective way to eliminate the symptoms is to understand the root cause (belief/trauma).  The timing for everyone is different. When we are ready we can address it.

If helping others too much is your concerning symptom. Do not spend all your energy on avoiding helping others. It will sap your joy and energy.

Focus most of your energy on understanding yourself and changing the belief(s) that cause that symptom while managing the symptom.

Maybe you need to question/change your belief on what makes you valuable (root cause) and then can help others by choice.

Copyright @2020 by Shervin Hojat

About Shervin

Author, Teacher, Poet, Engineer
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