“Anxiety is freedom’s possibility…”
~The Concept of Anxiety by Soren Kierkegaard
I’m horrible at golf. I am my own hazard. It’s bad. However, I really enjoy it! Playing reminds me of spending time with my dad and I’ve found it to be relaxing. When I was beginning, my father would stand behind me and offer helpful critiques on my swing.
During a particularly horrendous game, the first four hits had immediately veered right as soon as my club made contact. I was frustrated. It made no sense to me why the ball wasn’t going where I was aiming! So, on the fifth hole, I lined my shot up to go far left of the green. It made sense that, if my shots went to the right, then I’d aim left and they’d go where I wanted!
Standing behind me, my father piped up and pointed out that I was putting a foursome in some real jeopardy based on how I was lined up. I explained my reasoning of “ball goes right; aim left”. He chuckled and offered some advice, “We don’t change our game to match our mistakes; we fix our mistakes.”
Many people who have experienced trauma tend to change their life to avoid future trauma. If they have been in an abusive relationship, they may decide all intimacy is potentially hurtful and not worth the risk. If they have been in a car accident, then they may decide leaving home is no longer worth the risk. They begin to change their life to match their trauma, instead of addressing the trauma.
This empowers the trauma and minimizes the power in the person. Changing our lives to match the trauma only serves to keep us stuck in the trauma. There is an increase in anxiety when we begin to think of confronting the trauma. This can be uncomfortable, scary, and is absolutely necessary. There are various therapeutic and psychiatric means of addressing trauma to facilitate freeing ourselves from past experiences and to begin embracing the possibilities life has to offer. If you discover you aren’t free to engage in healthy interactions with people because of your past, consider contacting a professional to help you confront those fears and get your life back!
Don’t change your game to match a bad experience, change the experience!