Better Safe Than Sorry, Or Not?

Better Safe Than Sorry, Or Not?

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Maybe a parent or another loved one uttered the phrase to you. “Better safe than sorry,” reasons your mother, father, grandparent, friend, third cousin Richie, whoever! Although the person saying the words varies, you typically find consistency in the why. Within the four words you will uncover a hint, “better safe than sorry.”

Your safety! Albeit convincing you to use assistive technology or forgo an activity completely, your well-being triggers the statement. Nevertheless your emotional response probably fails to involve appreciation that someone cares. Instead frustration builds. You just want to participate and without sticking out! Simply thinking about these past situations leaves you irritated.

Sorry. I did not intend to agitate you. Take deep breaths! Inhale, exhale, and repeat till calm. Trust me. I know exactly how you feel. Today’s post seeks to empower you to get your loved ones to reexamine their better safe than sorry stance. Perhaps along the way open your mind a little too.

Better Safe Than Sorry, Or Not?         

Upon first reaction the word “safe” generates positivity. I mean, you like feeling safe right? Safety leads to security. When secure you relax, growing comfortable. There exists the trouble.

Comfort eventually hinders growth. Similar to a plant needing water to grow, humans need experiences. You and I can only gain so many inside our comfort zones. Afterwards a plateau sets. Sustained growth REQUIRES going beyond.

Allow me to give an example. Set scene, in a week I start 10th grade. Those who read my cerebral palsy memoir Off Balanced* may recognize this story. Actually oppose to abruptly trying to summarize the tale, I might better serve you by incorporating the selection. Enjoy!

A major accomplishment from building my leg strength back up involved shedding the need to use my cane. “Zach, have you given thought to using the cane for school this year?” Mom asked with a week left before the academic year began.

“I’m not going to.” Over the summer I progressed from only using the cane when I went somewhere requiring lots of walking, like the mall or an Indians game, to not using the cane at all.

“But Zach…” Mom began, getting set to argue her case for why I should still use the cane at least for school. She and Dad wished for me to continue using the cane, as they felt the support the mobility device offered would help preserve my safety throughout my six hour school day.

“No!” I boldly interrupted with a rare glimpse of self-assurance. I wasn’t going to let this conversation turn into a debate the way ascending and descending stairs did when I entered junior high. “I don’t need the cane anymore.” My leg strength and endurance improved because during the summer I spent the majority of my mornings in the park walking with my mother. In general, spending mornings walking with your mom isn’t exactly the ideal way teenagers want to start the day. Heck, my two-and-a-half year older brother Bill tended to walk 10 feet ahead of the family anytime we went somewhere public. We didn’t mean the slights as personal insults but when you factor the age gap with the caring parent/independent seeking teen roles things don’t compute too well.

“At least keep the cane in your locker” my mother responded, conceding to my stubbornness while hoping for a compromise. “That way it is there just in case.”

“I can do that” I said agreeing to the compromise while thinking “Yeah, that cane will never leave my locker,” which it never did.

Amidst the above excerpt I described my actions occurring during “a rare glimpse of self-assurance.” Such confidence grew gradually commonplace, thanks partially to abandoning my cane. The fewer accommodations I needed, the more self-confidence I gained.

Better safe than sorry? Nah! Risking some precautions I obtained the self-worth empowering me to over time become the Cerebral Palsy Vigilante.

Simply Complicated

Please understand me correctly. Rather than saying “Forget safety precautions,” I am advocating you act smart. Determining between useful and limiting safety measures stands an ominous challenge. Personal desire to blend in distorts your rationale. Simultaneously your friend or family’s concern regarding your safety disrupts his or her outlook. Establishing clarity necessitates compromise.

Compromising begins alongside the caring party fighting their protective temptation. Resist immediately setting forth preventive resorts. Alternatively reach an agreement. Offer an opportunity to prove ability. Perchance failing X number times, the protected’s part among the deal activates.

Concede to the reality extra safety precautions stand a requirement. You could despise the truth but your scorn outdoes denial. I speak off experience.

2017 saw me complete what I prior deemed “unreasonable,” a marathon! 26.2 daunting miles! While training a thought lingered, “Should I use my cane?” The same cane I in high school proudly banished to my locker. “We’ll see how training goes” I told myself, proceeding sans the mobility device.

Accompanying upped miles and greater frequency in training sessions came increased falls. Still I stayed undecided turning to my cane. At least until a fall finally shook me up.

Ironically the aforementioned fall initially left me laughing. Imagine a drunken person attempting to somersault. You envisioned my incident, minus the alcohol. Ha, ha!

Following additional contemplation my humorous perspective transitioned to tremendous gratitude. Had I rolled further forward onto my shoulder before crashing to my side, I likely endure serious damage. Seeing firsthand the consequences my mother faced due to an arm injury, I recognized the seriousness. Hence I embraced the mantra “Better safe than sorry” and started utilizing my cane training.

My marathon story demonstrates you don't have to be "better safe than sorry," but instead safe and NOT sorry.

Flanked by friends I muscle through the final miles to complete the 2017 Towpath Marathon.

Despite caving to safety concerns, completing the Towpath Marathon enabled me to grow. Even keeping cane in hand I physically transformed. To the point where people merely looking at pictures noticed my improved muscle definition! Mentally I became empowered. If I am able to finish the “unreasonable,” anything appears possible given a relentless commitment. Though I chose safety, I avoided becoming sorry.

Better Safe but Not Sorry!

Ultimately the “better safe than sorry” mindset contains a huge flaw. Inserting preventive safety measures imprisons you to a small comfort zone. A problem since you can only grow so much inside there. You need to venture beyond and gain outside experiences to develop and fulfill your potential.

Oppose to ditching safety precautions and acting wishfully, I propose compromise. Suggest a deal with your worried loved ones. Request the opportunity to show your capabilities to partake in whatever activity without needing safety precautions. However, after slipping up X times agree to accept safety protocols. This approach helps keep you safe but not sorry!

Do you possess any insights you want to add? Maybe you can detail a personal example telling a compromise between you and a family member. Or perhaps you wish to share growth you experienced by exiting your comfort zone. Go ahead and leave your story via a comment below.

*Links to Off Balanced’s Amazon sales page connected with the Amazon LLC Associate Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. 

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