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Survival, Self-confidence & Security

    Like it or not, survival is something that every creature on this planet is locked into. But we humans have additional requirements that must be met in order for us to not only survive…but also to thrive. This is depicted in the schematic below, which summarises the ‘Hierarchy of Needs’ as outlined by the 20th Century American Psychologist, Abraham Maslow:

    SurvivalMaslow’s idea was that these areas need to be satisfied in the order of necessity depicted. So, you need to satisfy the things listed a level 1, before you are secure and free enough to be able to fully concentrate on the issues depicted in the next level…and so on.

    DownNotOutNow,there are times in this world when we get so beaten down by life—that we can’t help but feel we have been knocked down a level or two. We feel as though we are only just barely surviving…our self-confidence has taken a major hit…and as a result, we are generally not feeling as secure as we otherwise would be. Feelings of insecurity and lack of self-confidence are, amongst other things, not very conducive to the making of sound life decisions. When our self-confidence is low, and our insecurity is high, we are more likely to be somewhat depressed emotionally (particularly if the event that triggered it was particularly heavy…or this state of affairs has gone on unresolved for a length of time). This flat emotional state in turn, has an effect upon our mental processes, rendering them less reliable than they would ordinarily be. Indeed, a confident and secure person makes very different decisions to one who is insecure and lacking in confidence.

    But IMG_0084what is really happening to our decision making process when we are in this somewhat depressed, insecure state, lacking in self-confidence?


    First of all, we are generally assessing everything in light of our knocked-down experience. These experiences loom large in our memory because they are laid down with more charge on them than ordinary non-threatening events are. EmotionalChargeEmotional charges place memories in our Amygdalae, which act as our danger sentinel, from which we get faster recall…with stronger feelings attached for emphasis. This is a natural part of our survival mechanism, which is designed to keep us away from similar experiences that may threaten our physical, emotional or mental survival. So, we are naturally wired up to be somewhat less adventurous, and quite a bit more protective of ourselves, after we have taken a hit from the school of hard knocks:


    TarBrushSecondly, after a hard knock we are now tending to tar everything with the same brush. We start to see our problem everywhere—even in places that it is not … and it is the deep insecurity we feel that is a primary factor in this. We are being mentally clouded by our emotional state. Our emotional sentinel has the power to hijack our thinking brain in order to get us to move away from danger. EmotionalSentinelBut if we are not careful, we will begin to see danger everywhere. It’s easy to become paranoid after events like these—reading danger into every situation—whether it is there or not. Indeed, it is all-too-easy for we humans to see things as we expect them to be, rather than how they really are—apart from those expectations (see my blog post ‘What’s The Secret’? for more on this). In fact, most of us excel at jumping to conclusions even when we are not hurt—let alone when we are genuinely wary or lacking in confidence. So, it is highly likely that our expectations are persistently being hijacked by the strong emotional charges emanating from these amygdalae driven memories.

    Depending upon our particular personality pattern, we are likely to be influenced to the point of distraction by events such as these. DecisionRightWrongAnd this is why we should avoid making major life changing decisions at times like these—or before the fallout from events like these have been resolved. And by major life changing decisions, I mean any that can have long-term consequences or costs involved:

    • Getting married…or starting an intimate relationship that we may later come to regret.
    • Moving out, selling up or shifting to another town, state or country.
    • Quitting your job or suddenly moving in a different career direction.
    • Buying a major asset (car, boat, motor home, house etc.).

    The reason I give people this advice is because the last thing they need at times like these, is to have more trouble heaped upon the difficulties they have already encountered. And make no mistake about it, you really aren’t making great decisions when you are insecure, hurting and lacking confidence. You are much more likely to settle for less than you deserve when in this state. Your decisions are being made from a center of neediness and distraction rather than a center of sufficiency and attention to detail.Feel_Deserve_Blue The decisions that you ‘settle* for…because you don’t think you can do any better’ will never be as good as the decisions you ‘hold out for…because you know you deserve better.’

     *Accept despite lack of complete satisfaction.

    What you really need at times like these, is someone to help you put things in perspective. You need someone who understands where you’re at…whilst also knowing where you have been—and can be again. You need someone detached enough to give you sound advice…but empathic enough to match that advice to what you are currently capable of seeing and doing. You need a shoulder to cry on that is neither too hard nor too soft. You need someone who will commiserate with you…but not let you pity yourself to the point of no return. You need someone wise enough to know your innermost pattern of behaviour…so you can be reliably shown that there is a way back.



      A problem shared .... is a problem halved ... and a problem shared with the right person ... is a problem solved!

      Steven Bailey-Brown

      Human Dynamics Facilitator

      45 Ventnor Avenue, West Perth, WA 6005
      Mobile: 0403 969 527