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Securing Your Security Blanket By Steven Greene

by | In the Magazine, Steven Greene

Have you checked on your security blanket lately?

You very well may have one.

Don’t be embarrassed

It has been reported that a large number of adults all over the world retain some sort of security blanket or comfort object well into older age.

Remember that Blankie?

Besides Mom and Dad, it was the single most important thing in your life… both physically and psychologically. Just about every kid in the universe had one. Back in the day, too many “parenting geniuses” believed that the security blanket was something evil. They somehow thought that a child’s habit of touching it, wanting it to be near them, turning complete attention to this object, and allowing it to become a calming mechanism was an awful thing.

Their flawed thinking was that a child had to be weaned from the security blanket. In other words, taken away from something that gave them peace of mind very early in their mental developmental process. 

They even devised all sorts of silly methods for bribing it away from us. Trade it in for a new toy. Never wash it so it smelled so bad you would not want to go near it.  Talk about “big girls” or “big boys” in the neighborhood or at school who didn’t have one. (they all did) None of that stuff ever really worked and it caused a whole lot of completely unnecessary drama.

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Comfort object

The truth is a huge percentage of adults; some say up to 35% still have a comfort object of some sort in their lives. These people are perfectly normal in every sense, very successful, good parents, community leaders, etc. Yet they have stuck with what many psychologists refer to as a “transitional object.”  These objects can be a blanket, stuffed animal, touchstone, or anything at all.

Why we first became connected with comfort objects is to transition from our mothers. At some point in development, we suddenly become aware that we are separate beings from her. Until that time in early childhood, we believe our mothers and us are one being. As you can imagine, this brand new awareness causes anxiety. The Blankie reduces anxiety and eases the transition. It bridges the gap between dependence and independence.

As children grow older, many tend to attach more meaning to the comfort object, referring to it as a living being, believing it has magical abilities, or superpowers that it could not possibly have. This is called essentialism… it is an extension of breaking free while staying stress-free. And after a period of growth and maturity, these physical transitional objects can be, and are in many cases, internalized as new abstract ideas. By the way, the reports are all in.

I do not believe they include a security blanket sighting at a wedding or a board of directors meeting. So it seems that most kids figure it out! 

So that’s a lot of information – Maybe TMI – So how does the Security blanket syndrome apply to coaching, business, accomplishing your goals, and all the other good stuff we all seem desperate to achieve?

Here’s the secret

All those “parenting geniuses” from the past were, of course, 100% wrong. The security blanket was a good thing. A great thing. Even if you gave it up early or still secretly have one now. What was the security object in reality? Those objects were training wheels… training wheels for what everyone is craving for today in our limited attention span, overstimulated, very difficult to navigate the world. It’s spoken about in every health, wellness, and new age magazine, lecture, seminar, and course.

Today, we are told in order to maximize our productivity, efficiency, mind and body health, we should meditate, practice mindfulness, and ritualize behavior through repetitive actions called “good habits.”  Ironically, all of those things rely on the underlying philosophy of the evil security blanket.

If we all think about it, that little security object was so important, it served as the foundation for many of these modern lifestyle goals. For example, the meditative practice asks us to shut off the outside world for just a moment and find peace from within. We are taught to begin the process by focusing intently on something like breathing or a phrase to start to calm down the overstimulated mind.

Hmmm… sounds a bit like the focus we had on the Blankie that took us out of the anxious childhood transition and gave our minds a chance to find peace within. And since, as discussed previously, the security object can be turned into an idea rather than something physical, most of us have had intense meditation training.

Mindfulness

The same thing goes for mindfulness which is often described as shutting on what is “now” or being acutely aware of the present and what you are doing this minute. It can be something as simple as appreciating the variety of birds, or marveling at the many colors of the flowers while you are doing a run on a beautiful trail. That blanket gave you something to be aware of in the present; the color, feel, taste, and smell. (even it may have been a bit stale!) So, it seems most of us have had very solid mindfulness training.

And this thing about positive ritualized behavior that I see, hear and read about at every turn. Simple things, like a few minutes of prayer or gratitude each morning, journaling each day, exercise, setting simple daily goals, and stating affirmations out loud. Again, that blanket certainly was part of our daily ritual whether we touched it before sleeping, patted it before school, or a thousand other personal Blankie rituals. So here again – most of us have been trained in good habits.

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Therefore, we can use all the great training we have been given in all of these wonderful practices if we tap into them. It’s all there. Take a few minutes and remember those wonderful times. You might even remember the name you gave your security object. Yes, invisible friends count! Here is the good news. It doesn’t matter if you don’t remember, or you were embarrassed about your security object, gave it up, or had it taken away. The training is in there.

So before you give up on all these interesting new practices because you don’t have the energy, the time or you don’t want to embrace the dreaded B-word, which is also one of the keys to successful living. No, you are not a beginner because you have been pre-trained. Just jump in and start embracing mindfulness, meditation, and repetitive positive behavior because you already know how to do it.

The only thing that is required is to simply to begin. You may not remember how, but these things will be simple and easy to integrate into your life if you just start.

Wow, that takes so much work, time, and effort off of your plate. Can you imagine getting instant anything without all the hard work? Well, you’re not. You already did all the hard work. Now just claim it. You and your Blankie, Bankie, Binkie, Bearie, Spoonie, or ????     And the funny thing is; it did have magic, supernatural, and lifelike powers. Most of us just did not know it at the time. All the experts did not know it back then. We’ll now we know.

So let’s go and grab some of that magic for good in our complicated lives and begin to live a bit better.

 About Steven Greene

Steven is a published author and produced screenplay writer. He is the winner of numerous prestigious awards.  His “out of the box” innovative thinking, true creative credentials, along with C level experience and influence have enabled him to produce added value for clients, in addition to becoming  sought after as a corporate speaker and consultant.

Reach him at steven@clickfirstmedia.com

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