“The only way to find true happiness is to risk being completely cut open.”
― Chuck Palahniuk
To live is to risk. Every day, we face a multitude of situations that involve some form of risk. Someone who dreads the prospect of public speaking risks making a fool out of himself (at least in his own mind) by going on stage. A person who’s on a diet and that goes to the restaurant risks breaking their healthy habits. The point is, risk is everywhere, and on a daily basis we are confronted to it. Since we are only human and can’t pay attention to a gazillion of stimuli all at once, we prioritize certain types of risks over others.
Here’s an example to illustrate the matter. I won’t risk my career and financial safety to follow my dream of being a freelancer, but on the other hand, I’ll surely risk my life by texting my buddy while driving on the highway. While this is an extreme example, it demonstrates the paradox of the human mind when it comes to evaluating the accurate measure of risks, or perhaps, of completely overlooking it.
In terms of potential for loss, which translates itself very often into human suffering, emotional risks represent the riskiest type of risks there is. Ironically, while the stakes are the highest in the emotional playground of risks, it’s frequently emotional risks that are taken the most carelessly. We will go to 15 car dealerships to make sure we make the smartest, safest, and most economic wise decision for our next car, but we won’t hesitate a split second to get emotionally involved with someone that screams emotional unavailability. Like our willpower that fails us when we’re at our weakest, rationality loves to play hide and seek when we need it the most.
Whether our actions result from conscious or unconscious thinking patterns, the responsibility rests in our own hands. We can’t control all the variables that are at play while taking a risk, but the sole fact that we consent to taking such risk grants us of a responsibility. You can project your pain/anger/sadness onto others when you don’t get the desired outcome you had in mind, and while all of these emotions are extremely valid, they are yours to hold.