Have you ever been in a conversation with someone where they are upset or frustrated with a situation and spent quite a bit telling you about it. So you comment back that there are things they can try to resolve it and they look shocked or stunned and immediately explain that there is no way to fix this and it’s actually appropriate for it to be that way and they just accept it because that’s the way life is? I’m betting all of us have come across this or perhaps been in the middle of this on either one or both sides of the conversation. Because while our highly evolved survival instincts and our amazingly agile brains can see that the situation isn’t working and is actually causing us not to have the life we want, the need to control our lives and provide safety and stability out of chaos drives us to keep holding onto that tiger by the tail for all we’re worth.
Ok, so the logical non-emotional side of us can see that the world is full of possibilities, we are capable of doing what it is we want to be doing or have the ability to become capable over time, and that staying in a bad situation is not going to help us get there. I mean, how safe can it be to be using a tiger’s tail as a leash, even if a cat would consent to go for a walk with you in the first place. You know that the tiger can turn on you at any time and that keeping close to it but behind it is the best you can hope for. Out of sight out of mind and perhaps touching it can give you some forewarning of its intentions. The emotional part of us, the part that is most connected with identity, sees us as Tiger holders and holder of this particular tiger. Bad marriage tiger, too much debt tiger, can’t quit smoking tiger, can’t get pregnant tiger, never have enough money tiger…you get the picture.
So what would happen if you stopped being a Tiger holder? Would you end up standing still and never moving? I doubt it. Would you get chased by other Tigers, perhaps, but you’re now beginning to be tiger savvy so it’s less likely you will end up holding another Tiger even if one passes by. You know how dangerous they are. Perhaps, if you start walking you might discover a Unicorn or you might be able to catch a ride with a phoenix. You never know until you let go of the Tiger. Go ahead, open your hand….