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Survivor Instinct                       

                        Having A Survivor Instinct
                                By Donna Allen

As I lie restless in a cold room, I can smell a strong sweet and sour nauseous scent. There are noisy electrical machines attached to my body, a long tube jammed down my throat, and fluids are being transfused into the veins of both of my arms. I wonder, 
    “Where am I and what are they trying to do to me?”
    As they restrain me by tying my arms to the bars on the bed, my heart starts racing and pressure builds inside my head. I struggle to free myself from these shackles because they’re trying to kill me. People keep coming into the room to pry open my eyes. As they leave the room, I immediately recognize Mommy standing at the foot of the bed. 
    “Mommy, what happened?”
    “You were in an airplane crash.”
    “Oh. Are the others
Mommy lowers her eyes, purses her lips and slowly shakes her head from side to side. I look at her for an answer but she doesn’t look at me.
“Somebody must have died, but whom? And, why did I live?”

Have you ever felt victimized, helpless, and overwhelmed and as a result you shut down, got angry, and lashed out when you were hit by adversity or had your life disrupted? Perhaps you wanted to be able to cope with disruptive change, tap into the will to survive, and gain strength from the adversity. Maybe you tried to appear to have strong self-confidence, know what to do, and be in control. And something stopped you from regaining stability, gaining strength, and attaining what you desire.

    I learned that some people are better survivors because they are born survivors. They have a natural coping ability . They are natural players in the game of life. Other people need to work consciously to develop their abilities. They have to work at learning to handle pressure, negative situations, and disruptive change. I learned that the best survivors are those who find ways to cope with adversity by reaching within themselves for answers. They succeed by gaining strength from their adversity. They are determined to walk through the fear of physically challenging conditions like polio, head injury, or cancer and life-disrupting events like abuse, job loss, and bankruptcy. I was able to tap into the abusive life that I endured to draw out the important life lessons that helped me to handle pressure, negative situations and disruptive change. If you learn something from an experience, there can be no such thing as failure. It is the way that you cope with failure that shapes you, not the failure itself.

    There are benefits that you can gain from a bad experience. You can find useful lessons in the experience and apply it to the next occurrence. My experiences taught me how to analyze situations and new developments quickly. I built self-confidence and I gained personal strength by learning something useful.

    Fear motivates you to free yourself from danger. It tells you that you need to quickly change course. For example, after finally escaping my childhood home of physical and verbal abuse at eighteen I never wanted to be in an abusive situation again. I had fear of being caught in a cycle of abuse and pain for the rest of my life and I was willing to do anything to avoid that outcome.

    Fear was an obstacle to my success and happiness. I was very unhappy in my personal relationship with my mate, but I made excuses for staying, perhaps because of the baggage that I carried from my childhood. Some of us are afraid to leave, afraid of what might happen if we have to depend on ourselves, afraid of what to do next, afraid of being rejected by a new potential mate.

    Can your own fear keep you from stretching beyond your comfort zone? I learned that I can allow myself to feel fear, but I don’t have to allow fear to get in my way of attaining my dreams. It was important for me to direct my attention to my fear, trust my instincts and move beyond it to attain the personal success that I wanted.

    In high school, I was living a life of quiet desperation as a result of the psychological shackles that were latched onto me by someone who should have loved and protected me. At age 14 I used my violin and classical music to mentally escape the brutality at home. I had been living my life curled up in a protective ball. My emotional numbness had prevented me from finding my own personal strength to stand up for myself. At 18 I barely graduated from high school and I fell into the arms of a much older man who offered me a life from my mother’s psychological bondage. But this new man in my life had a secrete life of his own; one that was filled with a sick sexual obsession. By age 19 I was trapped in my boy friend’s sick obsession with sex, and at 23, I found myself lingering in terror in the midst of a careening Rockwell Areo Commander aircraft crashing to the ground. My boy friend died in the crash. I was told that I would never walk again. Yet coming out of the darkness of hopelessness and moving into the light of determination, I was able to transform my life of pain, shame and desperateness into one of honesty, happiness and personal success. How was I able to do this? I turned my disaster into a gift. Instead of reacting like a victim, I converted the disaster into one of the best things that has ever happened to me and I moved beyond my fear and overcame the resistance in my life.

Here are the actions I took, and perhaps you may identify with some of them.

1. Change your inner thinking. I realized that the people around me had problems and the only person that I could help was me. I started searching for motivational books and audio recorded teaching to help me to erase all of the negative messages that people had been feeding me all my life. I learned that all of the
events in my life were being controlled by my inner mind which housed all of my memories, attitudes, emotions, beliefs and habits. These things had been impressed strongly in my inner mind and it formed the conditions and experiences of my entire life. But I was fortunate to have a mentor who believed in me. She taught me about the importance of focus, challenge, integrity, responsibility, confidence, dedication and determination. I worked very hard to repay her dedication and return her devotion. Because of Barbara Shearer, I didn’t give up. What about you? Have you given someone the power to take away your dreams.?

2. Change your belief system.
When I was a little girl, I was shy and withdrawn. I felt a lack of mental strength and I could have crumbled at the slightest pressure. My spirit was weighed down because I could not control the factors outside of my self at home. As a young adult, my belief system was making my life exactly what it was; full of lack, limitations, and difficulties. I had been listening to and following the scripts written for me by my parents, friends, relatives, educational system and others. These scripts formed the shackles that I lived with, preventing me from the break through to success, happiness, and the personal creativity that I wanted. I learned that I was in control of what went into my mind. Through the motivational material I studied, I was able to clear my mind of negative ideas and make lasting, positive changes in my life. I started by consciously recognizing a negative belief and adopting a positive one in its place. The more I reinforced a positive beliefs and the more I acted positively, the more quickly positive thinking and behavior became a new habit for me. What about you? Have you allowed fear of failure, rejection or making a mistake stop you from going after your dream?

    I realized that I had been living my whole life curled up in a protective ball; an emotional numbness. This emotional disconnection had prevented me from finding my own personal strength to stand up for myself.

    This problem had shown itself to me in other ways and I didn’t respond to it. It had been whispering to me for a long time. And then the message was shown to me like a small stone falling on my head, a solid block of clay hitting my brow, and then a huge crash into a concrete wall where finally the whole wall come tumbling down. This is what it took for me to pay attention. It was about me compromising my own inner self, my own inner instincts. I realized that when I listened to my inner self, I was led down the right path. When I didn’t listen, and instead, listened to someone else, I was led down the wrong path.

    Yet coming from a place of hopelessness, I was able to transform my life of lack, limitations, and difficulties into one of courage, service, and personal and economic achievement. How? By listening to my instincts and moving beyond my fear.

Contact Donna Allen at


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