Escape the Escape Artist Mindset

Fight or flight. As perfectionists, we almost always choose flight. We avoid. We run away. We escape because it is easier than facing the risk of rejection, abandonment, and failure.

We escape trying new things because we don’t know want to be bad at something. We escape subjective activities like painting and writing because we don’t know how to receive criticism. We escape from people and ideas we care about because we don’t want to be rejected or abandoned. We escape from ourselves by pretending to be someone else rather than having our true selves be rejected. We escape by telling ourselves stories. We become great escape artists. It becomes a subconscious response to many situations. And almost all of these situations are rooted in fear.

Consider these words from Pema Chödrön, from her book, When Things Fall Apart:

“Fear is a universal experience. Even the smallest insect feels it. We wade in the tidal pools and put our finger near the soft, open bodies of sea anemones and they close up. Everything spontaneously does that. It’s not a terrible thing that we feel fear when faced with the unknown. It is part of being alive, something we all share. We react against the possibility of loneliness, of death, of not having anything to hold on to. Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.

If we commit ourselves to staying right where we are, then our experience becomes very vivid. Things become very clear when there is nowhere to escape.”

“Fear is a natural reaction to moving close to the truth.” -Pema Chödrön

If you keep escaping, you will have a life of perpetually running away. You can make the decision now to break out of the cycle. The next time you get the urge to run away, commit to staying where you are. When you remain where you are, you can begin to understand the reasons that you want to escape.

And through this understanding, you can begin to escape the Escape Artist Mindset.

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