The darker side of “Just in Case”

3093851614_5a429506f5_zWhen I was young our family was devastated by the death of my sister. Watching the pain my parents went through was almost unbearable.

One of the strange decisions I came to eventually was this: I would have lots of children (6 to be exact) just in case one of them died.

Fortunately, common sense prevailed and after 3 kids we closed up shop.

Not that I wasn’t capable of loving more kids! It was more of a practical matter to do with the size of the house, the size of the car and the size of the wallet.

A protection mechanism

The decision to have lots of children was put in place to protect me from suffering. Now that I have children I know that it would not work anyway. No matter how many children I had, losing any one of them would be devastatingly painful.

Can you imagine having 6 kids anyway?

What I did instead was pour my heart and soul into the family I was blessed with. Naturally, I still pray every day for the safety of my family.

Sometimes ““Just in Case”” stops us from living fully or engaging fully.

Think about the man who keeps his little black book just in case things don’t work out in the relationship. Can he be 100% committed to the relationship if he keeps the escape hatch close at hand?

I’ve coached more than one person afraid of intimate relationships. As soon as things started getting serious, they would somehow sabotage the relationship just in case they ended up getting hurt again.

These kinds of “Just in Case” thought-patterns have the positive intention of protecting us and at the same time they often keep us from living fully.

Awareness is the first step

You’ve probably heard me say this before: awareness is the first step in changing.

Self-reflection is the only way you’ll unearth your “Just in Case” thought-patterns.

Start noticing when you say “Just in Case” just in case it’s serious. (OK OK sorry!!!)

Start noticing when you say “Just in case”, whether it’s inside your head or to someone else.

Second step Self-Reflection

When you discover a “Just in Case” thought-pattern, ask yourself these questions:

  • What is this thought-pattern protecting me from?
  • How is this “Just in Case” thinking holding me back?
  • How would my life be if I let it go?

Some “Just in Cases” may not have such a serious impact. Others could prevent you from living fully.

Now let it go

Once you start noticing your “Just in Case” thought-patterns you can decide to keep them or to change them.

Doing this allows you to living more intentionally and more fully.

Now: “Just in Case” you have read this whole article, I would like to say, “Thanks for being a loyal reader! I appreciate you very much.”

Please share your “Just in Case” stories so we can all grow in awareness and learning.

“Always keep your words soft and sweet,
just in case you have to eat them”

Photo by Flickr

About Kirsten Long

Coach. Toastmaster. Prison-worker. Wife. Mother. Friend.
This entry was posted in awareness, Fulfillment, Habits, Lessons, Life Mastery, Thought Patterns. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The darker side of “Just in Case”

  1. Wilma Knottenbelt says:

    We are packing up our house as we plan to move into a small home, so you can just imagine what it is like when you have been a ‘just in case’ person all your life. After living in the same house for 34 years, I decided that, after this clean-out, I will do my utmost not to hoard stuff ever again. Well, I will try at least. Thanks for the great article.

    • Kirsten Long says:

      Hi Wilma,

      Thank you for your comment. Wow! 34 years in one house is a long time!

      It is a wonderful opportunity to clear out, as you say. In a small house it will be more difficult to hoard stuff so that will also help you to keep your word. Enjoy the new space!

      We are also planning to move to a much smaller house in a few years time – I’ll have to get some tips and advice from you then…

      Good luck with the move.

  2. Heather says:

    “Just in case” in my opinion just doesn’t allow oneself to Live 100% in the moment..
    How great would it be to just let go and allow oneself to soak up the essence of “Living”
    My husband calls my “just in case” possessions, Hoarding!! and sometimes/ most times I don’t blame him because most of my old stuff i have kept “because” of sentimental value..??? but the question is…is it holding me back from giving and also receiving??

    • Kirsten Long says:

      Hi Heather,

      Thanks for your comment. Being able to let go and soak up the essence of living sounds quite wonderful to me 🙂

      You have a point about stopping yourself from giving and receiving – clearing out does make way for receiving more. so give it a try!

  3. Hey Kirsten,

    Well considered article, as always. It rings true in many ways. You hear people say, get your degree as a back up just in case your venture doesn’t pan out. We all want a back up plan just in case things don’t work out. I’m not sure that is always a bad thing, though. In Nassim Taleb’s book, Antifragile he indicates that one should have all one’s ducks in a row ‘financially’. So, saving for or creating other skills for a rainy day, isn’t such a bad thing in my opinion. Where the dark side comes in is that a ‘just in case’ mentality stops us from being fully vested in the moment. And, when we’re not 100% in, we don’t get the joy that the process brings. And, we often don’t deliver on our promise either.

    Stealing from Alexander the Great’s story (and butchering it): When his army invaded a country he ordered that all the ships be burned. His captains were dismayed and asked “what if we lose?” Well, you probably guessed his answer and they won the battle. Sometimes you have to burn your ships to focus on what’s really important.
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    • Kirsten Long says:

      yes, Alexander the Great understood human nature very well.

      Personally I don’t think a “just in case” attitude to finance is the best way. Rather put a solid plan in place to manage and grow wealth. “Just in case” money tends to get spent on other things and not what it was saved for!

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