On the path to self-awareness, you might be tempted to take the various escape routes or exit doors that seem to ‘appear’ on the journey. As a metaphor, the escape routes and exit doors refer to the methods of distracting or deterring from your self-discovery, often because of fear of the unknown journey and what lies ahead in life. This is a completely normal part of the process of waking up to your true self, in fact taking exit doors or escape routes can be an important part of learning about who you are and what you want.
If you are a person who seeks assistance in learning about yourself and what you want out of life, your subconscious and intellectual mind wants to grow, learn, and move forward in life, but your ego or unconscious self often fights the change. This tension is where the escape ideas build, even before you or I as your coach are aware of it.
Escape routes and exit doors are part of each individual’s history, built from arguments, behaviors, and routines beginning from childhood. We rely on these to help us get through tough situations as a safe pattern or comfort zone. When we are in session together and difficult things come up, your unconscious self begins to think of the various safe zones and exit doors to get out of the tough moments and difficult feelings. Even though you want the change, your inner self feels the discomfort so looks for any possible way to get out of the situation.
In the process of self-discovery, imagine your ego or unconscious self as the captain of the ship on this journey. When it feels changes coming, as in a storm, the ego becomes more aware and shifts into a defensive position. This shift puts you into a more survival mode, often called the “critter brain reaction.” This puts you into a reactionary stance, ready to take action away from danger and bad situations, like if you were being chased by a giant lion. While this survival mechanism is important in life or death circumstances, it can be hurtful in the self-awareness process.
If you look at our sessions together like we are traveling on a train together, and as we dig deeper into your emotional issues and past, your ego becomes more and more uncomfortable, kicking into survival mode. You then begin to look for any possible way to get off the train to a safe space via an exit. This sudden urgency to leave or end a session is what I call “SIAH,” or Suddenly In A Hurry. Your ego is trying to rescue you from what it sees as a dangerous situation and creates an escape route or exit door for you so you do not have to enter the dark tunnel ahead. In sessions, this often comes out as a sudden urge to use the restroom. I encourage this because I know in this quiet time away, using your exit door, you will be able to collect your thoughts, calm down, and return to our session in a better place mentally and emotionally.
In my self-discovery coaching, many patients took their escape routes and ended sessions with me because it became too difficult for them to be honest with themselves. Others have ended sessions and taken a break from coaching, only to return later when they were in a better place emotionally. The exit doors and escape routes exist in our minds as a protection, so you should never feel afraid or embarrassed to use them. If you use the escape route, be aware of how and why you chose to use it. This is part of your journey to becoming more self-aware by trusting your instincts and listening to your intuition. At some point as you grow as a person, you will realize passing by the exit doors and following the path through the dark tunnel will bring you to the fulfilled and meaningful life you desire.