Why Do We Choose to Live in a Small World?

October 2, 2015

Personal Growth

Nearly all of us live in very small worlds, but we don’t realize that we’ve chosen to live that way. We tend to see only one solution—or a very few—to most daily problems. We argue with our spouses about the same things again and again—or avoid the issues altogether. We nag our children about the same things—even using the same tired words—over and over. We get annoyed when people—bosses, friends, other drivers—don’t do things our way. All these feelings and behaviors effectively shrink our world to the size of a shoe box. Why is that?

When we’re in pain and afraid, we can think ONLY in terms of survival. When we’re drowning, we don’t think of different swimming strokes. We don’t consult navigational charts. We don’t see fish in the water or clouds in the sky. We’re reduced to only one choice: keeping our head above water. One solution, tiny world.

When we feel loved—when we’re not drowning—our choices multiply. We can swim the breast stroke or the back stroke. We can swim toward one island or the other. We can see a boat floating in the distance and swim over to get on board. We can choose to get out of the water entirely and go for a hike. We can paint or play the violin. But all these options disappear if we’re just trying to keep our head above water.

When we feel loved, we can rise above survival and become creative. We can thrive. When we’re loving, we accept other people as they are, for example, and that opens up our world entirely, to include people and ideas and relationships we otherwise would never have considered. Without accepting people as they are, my world is only as big as me.

We do not have to live small.

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