Fight Or Flight: An Exercise In Choosing Neither

We all respond to tough situations with our own self-prescribed precautions, because history has taught us that we need to protect ourselves from harm and dreaded heartbreak. We learned from an early age how to prevent ourselves from getting too swept up in relationships after the first couple of people destroyed our self-esteem. We learned how to stay, fight and burn every damn thing to the ground like Drogon and Dany, yet we all know that never ends well for anyone.

We all want to love, be loved and have an easy time with the one we choose for our hearts. Nobody wants to live in a state of constant fear and worry about getting hurt, yet some of us have our escape bags packed and ready to go at the first sign of distress, while others will fight tooth and nail to save shitty-ass situations that drain every ounce of life from them. These are the folks who will set themselves on fire to keep their partners warm and remain crying in the rubble, hoping to be rescued. What a disaster.

How can we actively heal our desperate need to fit ourselves in one of two modes? How can we responsibly live a life we love without sabotaging every would-be experience before they can begin? The work it takes to deprogram ourselves from automatically operating from our space of trauma is enormous but possible if processed in small increments. Approaching life, including relationships, from a space of calm will yield results that will be surprising and simultaneously gratifying. Imagine approaching a new lover with caution yet with an audacity backed up with knowing that whatever happens is what was supposed to happen? Consider your perspective on relationships as an opportunity to trust yourself to make a choice that will help you elevate and build from a space of possibilities versus fear.

Hurt people hurt people, but hurt people can also heal. Our healing begins the moment we acknowledge how hurt we have actually been and take inventory of how much life we have missed out on by barricading ourselves behind our walls. The walls keep out the people who are no good for us, yet they also very predictably keep the wonderful ones at bay as well. We are making the choice to lose before we ever allow ourselves to get on the court.

Life fucking hurts, people hurt us, but guess what? We hurt people too, and we are also the villain in someone’s story. We have been on the fucked up side of the story, and we are someone’s reason for fight or flight. A healthy individual will feel remorse when they sit with that thought. Consider your transgressors feel remorse, regret, and pain when reflecting on how they blundered by hurting you. What if they don’t care, though? What if your painful story is just one of the many stories they collect to fuel their ego? How long will you allow their shitty behavior to imprison you? Their actions reside in your brain and are affecting you and the people around you. Where is the joy in that?

The people who are meant to stay will learn and love you and make it their business to honor every single part of your being. Will you make a pathway for that to be possible? Time is going to pass anyway. What will you spend your life doing? When will operating in flight or fight mode stop being a part of your narrative? You know it doesn’t work, and you reap no rewards, so why not try leading with self-trust, leaning into the work you have done on yourself, and allowing life to bless you by sending you people who will teach you valuable tools to live your life fully?

Take a deep breath, observe your surroundings, and take this beautiful life day by day. The bad things that have happened are no longer happening, and you now have an opportunity to create a brand new narrative. I know it is a scary thing to try something new, but what you’ve been doing fucking sucks and you know it. You owe yourself to live a full life complete with butterflies and breakups. You cannot have sweet without the bitter, but you won’t have either if you always run away.

About the author
Wild Woman. Carefree Black Girl. Joyfully Audacious. Follow Arihat on Instagram or read more articles from Arihat on Thought Catalog.

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