Survival is the most fundamental objective of being human. We have an innate drive not only to survive, but to get all the things that bring us satisfaction.
We want our parents’ love, their approval, and really, anything we can get from them. So, we find ways…
The term that has been given to a behavior we develop as a means of getting our needs met when we are young is: survival mechanism.
All humans have survival mechanisms.
And we tend to employ these learned behaviors as we grow into adulthood, because they have worked for us in the past.
You may think this is an absurd assertion. Does any rational adult think they can get a raise by holding their breath until they pass out? Of course not!
However, we humans aren’t inclined to completely dispense with something that has served us well in the past.
Often, we just find new ways to employ the same old tactics.
But just because we’ve dressed it in a nice suit doesn’t mean it’s all that different. Remember the saying about the pig and the lipstick?
Adult-modified survival mechanisms are insidious, because they look much more civilized. We may even fool ourselves! After all, we’ve been operating with them for as long as we can remember.
Are you interested in trading in the incognito coping strategies you developed as a five, eight, or fourteen-year old for more effective adult strategies?
If so, pay attention to where your mind and behavior go when you are:
These are the most opportune times for survival mechanisms. When you recognize what’s happening, remember, a child-sized you developed this strategy, whatever it is, in order to gain love and acceptance.
Scolding or harsh self-judgment is not appropriate.
Assure your scared inner child that the adult you is in charge now, that you are going to take care of him/her, and that everything is going to be okay.
Feeling a little stuck or burnt-out in your career? Take this free quiz http://careerburnoutquiz.com to uncover what’s working and what’s definitely not. Receive customized feedback and tips tailored for your situation to start on your path to an improved work life and career you love.