At its core, the context of survival is about avoiding emotional or psychological death. This imagined threat to our well-being arises from the need to be right, look good, feel safe (comfortable), or be in control. It is a fear-based context, even though the fear often comes from a perceived threat rather than an actual real-life danger. This need to avoid emotional or psychological death creates a fear-based response that can be just as strong as the fear experienced in a real-life threatening situation. This fear leads us to adopt survival strategies that are not always in alignment with our goals or commitments.
These survival strategies - being right, looking good, being safe, and being in control - often have us compromise and 'sell out' our values and commitments as we make them more important than our authenticity and integrity. We run this racket because we receive payoffs when we 'get to' be right, look good, be safe, or be in control. These payoffs are perceived benefits that perpetuate the survival context.
Whenever we break promises, fail to uphold our commitments, or act incongruent with our desires, we can look to the survival strategies to see what we are making more important. This awareness, combined with an understanding of the consequences (prices) of maintaining this survival context, can serve as a motivating force to begin redesigning the underlying assumptions by which we live our lives. This opens up a space where we can separate ourselves from this fear-based context and develop new, more effective strategies for personal growth and for achieving our goals. In the [re]WIRED for Peace training, we refer to this as the Creative Context.
Find out more in one of our free introduction workshops: