Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Illusion of Safety


I barely acknowledge some of the fears that drive my behavior. I am afraid of being perceived as "pushy," so I don't express the potential I see in some people's lives. I am afraid of being the focus of someone's anger, so I don't always support people on the commitments they make. I am afraid of not being accepted, so I keep to myself insights and ideas that could actually pave the way for someone's dreams becoming reality. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but it most likely boils down to a desire to be safe.

Every day, I pass by many apartment complexes with "security gates," to provide an illusion of safety to the residents. I've lived in those kinds of communities. The gates, when they actually function properly, may make it a little tougher for someone, but anybody that really wants to be on the other side of the gate can find a way to do it. My mind sometimes has me convinced that by not sharing what I see, I am keeping myself safe from other people's judgment. When I take an honest look, I can acknowledge how silly that mental security gate is.

My hairstyle isn't "safe." I write music that could be called challenging on a few different levels. But I am not always willing to directly challenge other people's perceptions of reality. Even when their perceptions keep them from creating the lives they claim to want. It seems safer just to let people believe what they believe and behave how they behave.

My mind gets hung up on the idea of accepting other people. I want to accept people for who they are, and I want to respect the beliefs that they choose. But accepting people doesn't mean refusing to challenge them. Especially on the beliefs that they are acting on subconsciously. Like my belief that sharing what I see will result in rejection. What I actually want is to let my strengths be of benefit in other people's lives, and some of those strengths involve seeing potential that others simply don't see.

So the question becomes, how do I dismantle that silly security gate and the illusion of safety? Well, for one thing, communication is a skill that can bridge the gap between what I fear and what I want. When I am careless in how I communicate what I see, then it's more likely that I will say things in a less hearable way. When I communicate clearly and in detail the possibilities I see, and I am clear about my motivation for doing so, I create a space that allows for easier partnership. Or even space for others to springboard from my vision into a purpose of their own.

My willingness to be vulnerable leads me to recognize that I can be passionate about something without being attached to what someone else does with it. I am only responsible for me, and I am also the only one who can share what I see. It's not necessarily "safe," but really... what is?

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