Let Yourself Out of Your Cage

woman-in-cageDo you feel trapped by your current position in life?

Imagine, if you will, that you are in a cage. The cage defines your world and keeps you where you are. You often dream about life outside of the cage, but you remain stuck in it.

What you don’t realize is that the door to the cage is open. All you have to do is walk out. But you are so adapted to the cage and the boundaries it sets for you that walking out of the cage, on your own volition, doesn’t even occur to you.

What Keeps You In Your Cage?

You stay in your cage because:

  • It is familiar and predictable.
  • Leaving the cage means dealing with the unknown.
  • You know exactly what is expected of you in the cage.
  • You know how to get your needs met in the cage.
  • Leaving the cage means taking a risk.

In other words, staying in the cage gives you a sense of safety. But as safe as it may seem, it does not satisfy other needs, such as personal fulfillment.

Experience with people tells me that many people want their lives to change, but deep down inside, they don’t want to change. In order for your life to be significantly different, you have to change many of the habits that define who you are and how you respond to life.

The bottom line is that making a significant change can be a threat to your identity–who you perceive yourself to be and your place in life. Changing means going through a period of discomfort, which I call the moving stupids. If you have ever moved from one dwelling or city to another, then you have experienced the disorientation, clumsiness, and stupid decisions that come with the move. Those are “symptoms” of the moving stupids, and most people avoid the feelings, so they don’t change.

Try This:

When you can spend a few minutes quietly with yourself, close your eyes and imagine yourself in a cage. Walk around the cage and feel its constraints. Tune in to both your comfort and discomfort in the cage. Be aware that the door to the cage is open.

Think about walking out of the cage. What feelings does that bring up? Is there some fear? Are you afraid to admit that there is some fear?

When you are ready, imagine that you are leaving the cage. Think about what you will do differently outside of the cage. Imagine that opportunities that are available to you outside of the cage.

Then ask yourself these questions:

1. Why am I keeping myself in the cage I live in?

2. How is getting outside of my cage a threat to the character I’m playing?

3. Do I have some preconceived ideas about what would be expected of me outside of the cage?

4. What is it about being free to change that scares me?