Do you sometimes take the easy way out?
We all do.
Have you ever wondered why that is? Have you ever wondered what to do about it?
Why Do We Take The Easy Way Out
So here’s the deal.
We humans all like pleasure. There is nothing wrong with that. We also need to be safe.
When we take the easy way out, it is usually to feel good or to be safe.
When we are taking the easy way out, it means that we are usually harming ourselves in a sometimes not so obvious way order to get the feeling or the safety we are seeking.
The example of someone who has a bad experience and then gets drunk to get rid of a “bad” feeling is a classic example of this.
But taking the easy way out does not necessarily have to be this obvious.
When Feeling Good Is Taking The Easy Way Out
There is nothing wrong with feeling good or being safe. There are some important positives to both.
Feeling good, for instance, can come when we are doing good work. Safety is an important requirement for progress and well-being.
However, both feeling good and seeking safety have a downside. If we are seeking solutions outside of ourselves we can be shortchanging ourselves. The issue is what we are trying to change and why. Are we acting out of fear or because we are supporting our best self?
We live in a world that operates to a large extent on rewards and punishments as a way to obtain cooperation. We will be confronted by this system whether we want to or not just by being alive.
For highly sensitive people, dealing with the challenge around the rewards and punishments we are offered can be daunting because they were not designed for us. One of the observable differences between HSPs and non-HSPs is how sensitive people have a more internal locus of control whereas non-HSPs are more apt to seek cultural rewards. Keep in mind that this is not meant to be a sweeping generalization but the observation that sensitive people are less culturally oriented.
This reality complicates how sensitive people relate, what causes them to feel good and how they interact with the cultural rewards structure.
When HSPs Take The Easy Way Out
Even if we are not seeking a lot of external rewards, sensitive people may still take the easy way out sometimes. We are human after all, and life is hard.
Some days, we are like everyone else, we just don’t feel like doing what we need to do. Like exercise. That’s obvious.
What is not so obvious is that sensitivity complicates the question of taking the easy way our especially in our social and work relationships.
We need more rest and more frequent rest, so we may feel that we are copping out when we are only taking care of ourselves.
We may overextend ourselves in order to do our jobs to pay our bills which may cause us to neglect ourselves because we are exhausted.
It may seem that no matter what we do we feel that we are taking the easy way out somehow. And we may be perceived that way by others which doesn’t help.
Furthermore, since we may observe what others do not, we often experience a lot of inner conflict and self-doubt around when to take action and when not to. This is part of the challenge of being sensitive and why sensitive people tend to come across as risk averse when they are not able to process what they are perceiving in a timely way.
The Conflict Between Survival And Excellence
For highly sensitive people, excellence can be more attractive than survival as a motivation. Excellence is less adversarial.
However, the world we live in is more survival-oriented.
Many of the rewards and punishments in our culture target survival goals. They often require an aggressiveness that runs contrary to the nature of highly sensitive people. Our gentler natures make it appear that we are abdicating our responsibility to others when we are able to contribute in ways that are undervalued.
A survival oriented world often treats people as resources to be used to serve survival. HSPs do not do well in survival schemes. We tend to be slower and more conscientious. War is not our thing and often seems like taking the easy way out anyway.
As a result, not only do we not respond to the external rewards we are surrounded by but we are also unlikely to perform when we need to be highly aggressive rather than highly conscientious.
Coming To Terms With It
We HSPs have to come to terms with our different natures and a cultural system that often will not reward us. The way to do that is to create a way of life that is designed to meet our needs and talents.
We need to take up the challenge of finding work that provides us with satisfaction, enough rest, and enough financial support.
We need to recognize our greater need for health care and make sure that we get what we need.
We need to make sure we are around people who support our well being rather than drag us down.
When we do these things, we will have found a way to be in the world that lets us function well and contribute constructively so that we can take comfort in and know that we did not take the easy way out.