When we talked about The Flinch in a previous post we concluded that flinching equals pain avoidance. To face the pain you have to learn to stop flinching.
It might be good to understand where this habit came from and then we can figure out what to do to defeat “the flinch.”
Unfortunately, our society has been training us to flinch. Remember, we said a champion fighter has to train to take the hits without flinching, and all this time we’ve been trained to do just the opposite…work smarter, not harder; don’t rock the boat; don’t climb that tree, you might get hurt.”
You see, every time you took the easy way out (or someone let you), you reinforced the flinch. In the back of your mind you stored the fear, and the excuses for not facing the facts. The flinch supports the status quo; it makes it easier the next time to refuse the challenge and run. Once again the status quo wins. Whenever a good idea pops up in your mind the flinch is there, that little memory in the back of your mind telling you “that’s too hard, or you can’t do that.” It gets easier to give in every time the fear holds you back. Then the next time comes and your heart rate elevates and your palms get sweaty, but you find it easier and easier to run and hide. It’s just like ruining your 5-week-old diet. You cheat with a night-time snack and guess what happens the next night? Do you think it’s now easier to say no when the pie ala mode is staring right at you? I don’t think so!
If you want to see “the flinch” defeated watch children at the playground. Watch them experiment and test themselves. Watch them fall down and get back up. Watch them climb as high as they can. When they reach their limit they’ll come back down, but the next time they’ll try again and go higher. They shrug off the scrapes and bruises. They overcome their fear, and, if you watch closely, you’ll see they don’t often cry (or not for long) when they fall unless there is an adult there saying “oh sweetie, are you ok?” If that helpful adult does that too often or tells the child, “don’t do that. It’s too high…” you have the beginning of reinforcing the flinch. It starts storing info in the back of the mind and builds up fear and the reflex to avoid doing the hard things. You already see over-protective adults outfitting their kids in every protective helmet and padding imaginable. Flinchers in the making!
Adults who flinch need to look in the mirror, face the truth, recognize the lie they’ve been telling themselves, and face their fears without hesitation. And face it now…you’ll be glad later.
Make a list of all your fears and begin the process of facing down every single one of them. Open your mind to all the possibilities and don’t listen when someone tells you that you can’t do it. Don’t give credibility to a situation being tough…stare it down. Try everything. Mistakes are not final, NOR fatal. Don’t let someone else dictate your goals…go for yours! We have all heard the saying, “What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger.” Why don’t you test out that theory? You might be surprised what you can accomplish if you don’t flinch.
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