We all know that people act individually in stressful circumstances, some people rise to the moment and some do not. Why is it that when faced with uncertainty some people take action without skepticism even though they know that they will likely die?
Then others will assume a fetal position and do nothing but beg for their own lives with no regard for others.
The truth is that most of us would like to think we would be one of those who could gather the strength to spit in the face of death or the likelihood of it but most of us don’t know. Ask yourself honestly, “Can I exhibit the strength? Can I put myself in harm’s way to protect my family or others should such a situation arise?” Most people want to have the heart to be that person but how do you know if you are, is there a way to know?
The truth is there is no way to know with 100% certainty.
People who have shown a propensity for this type of fearless behavior in the past are the most likely to do so in the future but again there is no guaranty. Those who have shown a lack of strength are most likely to repeat it.
One of the main reason these people can do these things is simply upbringing. Having this type of behavior instilled in them by their parents and taught that this is the way to think is what gives them this ability.
The issue is fear and for good reason. As humans we have a tangible survival instinct and separating yourself or running away from danger is not a bad thing, after all the best way to win a fight is not to get into one. If the situation is such that the only way you or a loved one might survive is for you to take action and you refuse to do so out of fear, then there is a problem.
Some therapists have suggested that this fight or flight behavior or ability was useful when we used to have to survive in a world where a T-Rex could be just around the corner but now it is a bad thing and should all but disappear from the human psyche.
So the question remains how do we make certain that we are one of those people who can manifest the courage to put ourselves at risk for the sake of others?
As I said before, clearly the issue is fear and though there might not be an app for that, there is a way to fix it. Let me first make it clear that this is by no means a mental disorder and does not require a visit to some sort of mental health specialist. However there is a therapy that is used by mental health professionals called cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT. CBT is used to treat disorders such as PTSD, phobias, depression and addiction. Unlike other types of therapies that never seem to end this is very short, usual between 6 and 12 months and it is effective. For this to work you must first want to be that person that stands up to fight. Like the individual who was instilled with that willingness to defend, others were instilled with the instinct to hide and we might not even realize it. This means that whether you think you would stand and fight or not this would be good practice. As I discussed earlier this is a fear and as with all fears it is our thinking or thought patterns that end up effecting our behaviors. For instance if we board a plane and all we can think about is crashing or running out of gas we are going to instill in ourselves a fear of flying. So obviously if we board that plane and all we can think about is the great time we are going to have when we arrive at our destination or how great the view is we will enjoy flying. That means that what you first need to realize is what those thoughts or beliefs are that offer to you not wanting to face those fears. So you want to discover how your thinking, feelings or even the circumstance affect your behaviors. This can be difficult because you need to be able to examine your thoughts and feelings. What are you thinking? Many times when a therapist asks someone what they are thinking much of what they are truly thinking gets left out.
When or if you identify those thoughts you can begin to practice new coping skills, thoughts or rehearsing how you will act in this type of situation. Keeping a journal and role-playing are good tools to help redirect your thought. In essence you are instilling or training yourself to be that selfless person to risk your life for others. If you are one of those people who knows you are not intelligent remember that this is a process.