"Human trafficking, modern-day slavery, has never been in greater number than it is today. " Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes at a panel discussing human trafficking
Turns out the world isn't actually safe. It seems to me that most people tend to ignore this idea and why wouldn’t they? Avoidance is a top way to evade feeling negative. Our brains have been highly developed to make things (emotion included) as easy and feel good as possible. If you ask me, it’s quite natural for humans to INNATELY want to do things the easy way. It’s easy to lean towards avoiding doing uncomfortable things. A great example of this is the idea of “cognitive dissonance”. Simply put, cognitive dissonance happens when our behaviors don’t align with the morals or values associated with our belief systems and we feel bad. And here’s the fun part – when we feel those negative emotions we (or our brains) get us out of that by using thinking errors like justification, minimization, denial, avoidance or whatever to help us FEEL BETTER about ourselves and our actions. The world's not 'that' bad. Or, I live in Utah where I'm protected. Or, the U.S. is the most powerful nation in the world, bad things only happen in other places. Or, my neighborhood is safe. These are all examples of thinking errors - minimization, justification, avoidance... They are defense mechanisms honed over centuries and they're pretty refined at this point.
"Never underestimate the power of denial." American Beauty, 1999
We want to believe that our world is a safe place. Of COURSE we want to believe this because we want to feel safe. We always want to feel safe – but it’s simply not true. The world is not a safe place and deep down we know it which is why we try to protect ourselves and the people we hold close to our hearts.
I used to be quite ignorant of this dangerous world. Presumable, I still am on quite a few levels but with age comes wisdom. The man learns! Turns out that the world is not safe and I wish I would have known this a long time ago – because knowing it would have kept me safer. In other words, my ignorance about the world had the effect of making the world an even more dangerous place.
Here’s the twist. With the world being a dangerous place, it gives me the opportunity to learn and grow. The times where this dangerous world and the dangerous people in it have hit me the hardest are when I’ve learned the most. The world and it’s pitfalls and bad people actually help me to become more and more solid in my own personal growth towards…well, towards whatever I want, really.
In other words, it’s ok that the world isn’t a big bowl of red cherries. Actually, the more I write about it, the more I’m inclined to believe that the world would be less growth conducive place if it wasn’t as dangerous. I’m not condoning ignorance, though. The world is going to knock you down, beat you up and then spit you out – and you’ll have the opportunity to get back up and remember what you learned from the experience. Here’s a list of the most dangerous things I’ve come across so far.
1. Not all people are good even when they look act like it 2. Even good people will lie to get what they want 3. People will put their own well-being before yours 4. The world isn’t fair – expect difficulties (a lot of them). 5. People that you don’t think deserve it, will die 6. You are being taught beliefs that cause you emotional pain 7. Politics and religion are often used to divide people (when that’s not their actual purpose) 8. Relationships are the most powerful influencers of emotion 9. Avoiding is only a cover up – like a bandaid over a gaping hole in your leg. It looks nice but doesn’t solve anything. 10. 4% of the population operates without shame or guilt (sociopaths are virtually undetectable)
Maybe the next Blog will be about how the World is a Beautiful place.
Thanks for reading and if you can add anything from your own life, feel free to comment. Don’t forget to watch the ‘Jed Says’ youtube and be sure to subscribe at www.youtube.com/meaningtolive