Friday, March 28, 2008

Fight or Flight?

Fight or flight, according to my physiology classes is the most basic of all instincts of all living things. It is a mechanism of presentation and survival whether in a situation in life or a destruction of a species. It is ingrained in all living DNA that when we are attacked we either fight of our attacker or escape as quickly as possible to avoid certain destruction.

Everyday we are faced with smaller battles but we react in the same ways. For example, a car cuts you off on the way to work do you a) speed up and tail him glaring at him until you reach your destination or b) do you move out of his way, slowing down further just in case he decides to slam on his brakes so you can hit him. When someone is rude to you is your reaction to smile and pretend it doesn't bother you and walk away or are you ready to throw a punch?

While these aren't life and death situations, over time your mind keeps a tally of them. If you are a fighter you always come out with the gloves on while on the other extreme you become invisible and avoid the confrontation. But what happens when a flighter is tired or running away and tired of putting up with crap and tired of being invisible--they grow in to a fighter.

Does growing from a flighter to a fighter accomplish what the person believes it should? Or is there a way to balance the best of both worlds? Can we find a happy medium from which to learn and grow?

Personally, I have been a flighter, invisible, holding it all inside, internalizing everything while replaying it over and over in my mind like a broken record. I get all worked up over it. I have done this at work, at home, in stores whatever. But for how long can I keep running? When or more importantly how do I stop running?

In my head and of course after the fact I am play over and over what I should have said or would say if I could go back in time and be a stronger version of myself. I also tell myself I won’t let it happen again. Only it does.

I also notice when I am overloaded with pressures of running and people’s meanness I eventually explode or in some cases implode. Exploding by going off on an innocent bystander or implode by becoming withdrawn and depressed. I hate that. With a passion.

How do we teach ourselves to go against the grain or walk in an unchartered path after years of doing the same thing over and over. I have heard the saying that when you do the same thing over and over and expect different results it is a sign of insanity. Maybe there is something to that.

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