Some of the deepest and often least obvious beliefs we run are beliefs about self-preservation and safety. This topic is complex; there are several layers to it.
Self-preservation is our subconscious mind’s number one job, but it isn’t always rational about it. This chapter explains the limiting beliefs relating to safety and danger that can result in extreme stress. These beliefs are more universal than most of you would think!
In many everyday situations the beliefs relating to safety are not evident and are hidden. Only the stress and the anxiety are what people notice. Non-beneficial beliefs about safety and danger can create many problems, including sleep problems, and even panic attacks.
Rational vs. Irrational Fears
Each and every one of us has rational and irrational fears about safety and danger. Rational fears relating to safety and survival serve us. Here are a couple of examples: When we look both ways to cross the street, keep a safe distance from the edge of a cliff or stay away from a hot stove etc.
We have hundreds of similar rational fears focusing on our safety and guiding us through the day. Most of them are completely outside of our awareness.
However, millions of people struggle with irrational fears about safety and danger. Their mind cannot distinguish helpful fears from debilitating ones. The subconscious mind looks at both types of fears with the same validity. Not feeling safe and feeling in danger are some of the most exhausting beliefs we can carry. Living like that for an extended period of time is a recipe for burnout.
I have interviewed people who did not feel safe anywhere, including in their own home. They put bars up on their windows, or installed expensive alarm systems. Some even had baseball bats and weapons throughout the house just in case they were burglarized. They often lived in nice neighborhoods; it was quiet at night and the neighbors were friendly.
But it didn’t matter, because they subconsciously believed that “they were not safe.” Their subconscious mind could not tell the physical safety apart from the emotional misperception of safety.
They logically may have realized that the things they did were quite exaggerated, but that did not stop their worries and concerns. Those worries and concerns need to be resolved at the subconscious level!
I described our mind as an event recorder. It records our life nonstop and monitors how we feel. Once we believe that “I am not safe,” “my survival is at risk,” or “I am in danger,” our mind gives us instructions to fight back; run away, and get to a safe place. Ultimately, the goal is to survive. This is part of our primal programming. If the perceptions are correct, these programs are executed properly and they serve us.
The incorrect and irrational perceptions of safety and danger are causing unnecessary stress and panic attacks!
After an unsafe event is over, some people can continue life the way it used to be without any negative effects. The problem begins when someone leaves the original environment; finds safety, but continues to see the world as unsafe and/or dangerous. This was more obvious for my PTSD and trauma survivor clients, but almost everyone has a version of these irrational fears outside of conscious awareness.
We can find danger or safety anywhere. It depends on what the subconscious mind is focusing on and how it rationally interprets the environment.
The irrational beliefs that life is dangerous and there is no safety get in the way of relaxing and enjoying life in the long run. These beliefs can make people see attacks and danger everywhere. They can become hyper-vigilant and hide from life.
Many people who suffer from these irrational fears avoid elevators, crowds, concerts, open spaces, flying, driving, and anything else that their mind perceives unsafe or dangerous.
I said this many times in the book; this does not happen out of choice. This can happen to anyone who has experienced or even just observed anything that is considered traumatic, whether it was in reality or seen TV.
It also doesn’t matter if you are small or big, strong or frail, or if you are a man or a woman. The only thing that matters is how YOU perceived the event.
Remember: When an event creates negative emotions, the mind labels the memory as “Needs work.” The subconscious mind will be communicating this problem to us, asking for resolution.
These negative emotions and beliefs can also be passed down to us from our parents. Several mothers told me that their children exhibited the same PTSD symptoms that their husbands developed after war or combat.
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