Many of us respond to experiences based on past outcomes. If we've been hurt when we reached out to someone, we are less likely to reach out to a different person. If we've been rejected when we've offered to help to someone, we are less likely to offer similar help to a different person.
It is human nature to protect ourselves. Here's how we can protect ourselves yet still expand our experiences, deepen our relationships with others, and fully express who we are. When we find ourselves fearing to take an action, we can think through this process:
- what outcome am I concerned about -- being rejected, being insulted, being hurt, being embarrassed, looking stupid, looking naive, other?
- where did this concern come from -- in what environment(s) and/or with whom has this outcome occurred?
- are these experiences likely to be universal -- are they likely in all situations or with all other people? Are there environments in which or individuals with whom the outcome has been different?
- what are the risks of testing the universality of this outcome in this situation or with this person?
Try it out and let me know the outcome!