Do you know someone who lives life on the edge? Someone who is a workaholic, risk taker, drama queen, adrenalin junkie, or fitness fanatic? Some people are constantly pressing the envelope of life, testing their limits, and functioning outside of the box. Why do people choose to live this way? Could this be a sign of some sort of pathology? While it could indicate a psychological problem, it also may reflect that they can’t feel anything unless they live life at extremes. Their emotions may have been blunted over time leading them to choose intense activities to trigger intense feelings. Why would people sign up for this approach to life?
Some individuals haven’t learned healthy ways to manage and regulate their emotions and are drawn to the roller coaster of feelings. This may be what they grew up with and therefore this feels normal, familiar, and safe even though others perceive it as unhealthy. For example, growing up in a family where conflict and turmoil were the norm may trigger a desire to create this situation as an adult. Do you know people who thrive on conflict? We might wonder what they get from that and the answer may be simple: connection. Some people can only connect through conflict and have an inability to attach in any other way. Obviously conflict triggers emotion, albeit negative, and sometimes even negative feelings creates a connection. Although conflict is a necessary aspect of life, some create it or feed it in an effort to keep it going. Other times, people seek circumstances that require an extreme response because they get bored with their mundane lives and need some excitement.
So what if you fit the profile above and want to make a change? The first step is to identify your thoughts and actions that create conflict and turmoil and attempt to understand why. Could it be a way to get attention, rebel against the norms, or avoid being fully attached to people? Maybe it’s the only way for you to feel alive and experience emotions fully. Sometimes understanding the causes can help with the solutions. Ultimately, the objective is to live a more balanced and connected life through constructive expressions of emotion. If you exhibit poor boundaries in relationships and tend to be either overly enmeshed or totally detached, seek the middle ground by connecting with others in less extreme ways. Learn to find excitement through less extreme activities. Learning to accept and respect oneself can also reduce the need to push beyond the healthy limits of living. Lastly, find happiness and peace internally instead of seeking external validation. Balance breeds success.