Eliminate Potential Risk
Protecting Yourself from Emotional Discomfort
When I say "wear your seat belt" I am not referring to your the literal seat belt in your car (although wearing that is also recommended). I am referring to the use of a metaphoric "seat belt"in your everyday life to prevent the chance of risk or harm. I give this advice with great caution because I am not supporting the aversion of all situations that display any level of risk. I am also not suggesting that you remain emotionally and intellectually stagnant but sticking to the safety of your own comfort bubble. I am actually a strong proponent of stepping out of your comfort zone, developing new knowledge and tastes, and learning about a world that extends beyonds our mental and spatial boundaries. What I am specifically referring to you is actively avoiding or stepping away from situations, people, or images that you know can or will cause emotional discomfort and potentially damage your mental or physical well-being. I'll briefly describe a situation I recently encountered as an attempt to further explain my concept (because it is kind of vague and easily confusing.)
Yesterday I was in my communications of media and society class. We are encouraged to bring in media related topics (aka pretty much anything in today's society) for class discussion. Someone chose to show a youtube video about a topic that makes me exceptionally uncomfortable both physically and emotionally. (I am not going to mention the specific topic because I think doing so would cause more harm than good.) But it is a topic that I am extremely opposed to and I am emotionally invested in my strong opposition. Seeing images on the screen were making me gag and any follow up discussion among my peers would certainly have left me feeling personally attacked and anxious. Instead of subjecting myself to this topic and accompanying negative feelings I put on my "seat belt" and left the classroom before the clip began and reentered after discussion was completed. I protected myself by eliminating the risk.
Others don't always know what bothers us and frequently don't understand why something that does not impact them can have such extreme effects on us. People are infinitely different so we can't expect others to look out for us, it's not because they don't care or don't want to protects us, but they may often not realize that we are in need of protection. You alone know what specifically impacts you both negatively and positively. Therefore you must use this exclusive knowledge and take necessary to means to protect yourself just as this quote confirms- you are your best protector-
“The best lightning rod for your protection is your own spine.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Know that you have within you everything you need to recognize what can cause you harm and protect yourself from it. Whether it means creating boundaries with a friend, leaving a room, not reading certain books, or avoiding magazine tabloid you have the control to do what is necessary to ensure your emotional comfort. I'll reiterate I am by no means advising you to not try anything new, refuse to step of your typical routine, or avoid all potentially risky situations. Please go try raw octopus! Go to the opera! Try sky-diving! Do something totally different and outrageous! But by all means necessary protect your core, your emotional well-being, and avoid situations that may harm your well-being.
Always remember to wear both your literal and metaphoric seat belt,
|Probably not advisable but just too cute to resist posting!|
I've been wanting to use this song for a while and it seems perfectly relevant to this post. Remember you are always your strongest advocate and protector and potentially hero. All you need to act as these roles for yourself is within you already.
Hero, Mariah Carey