4. Your Careful Part and the Three Ways to Take Care

Your Careful Part seeks to create more safety and better strategies that enable you to eventually take even greater risks in your life. Careful energy helps us create a sense of safety in our jobs and our life’s missions. It is an essential part of our relationships with partners, coworkers, kids, friends and most especially inside ourselves.

In Connection Gateways, we appreciate the magical quality of this Careful energy to create shifts in peoples’ understanding of themselves and the issues they are facing by standing back and seeing the big picture. Sometimes that is what cracks the code, showing us the perspective that enables us to escape a mental trap.

This Careful Part steps out of the thick of things and looks objectively at what is really
going on. Scientists and researchers exemplify this objective stance. Our Carefulness is not primarily concerned with morality but instead simply observes, like a mirror. But Careful energy has its own passion for probing deeply to uncover new knowledge.

When Careful energy is lively in people, they have an active mind. They can enjoy simply thinking about things and analyzing them. They can thus be highly knowledgeable about a wide variety of subjects. In daily interactions, they tend to keep a distance from others, especially from emotional involvements.

They are the ones who can be counted on to remain “cool, calm and collected” when others are caught up in the drama of the situation. Their role is more likely to be that of an observer, and they tend to be very alert to whatever is going on around them.

In that regard, they can have keen powers of observation about people and social dynamics. It could be said that they excel at seeing. And by virtue of standing back, they are able to offer perspective.

The Careful ones usually have the mental flexibility to see many options in a
situation and can help with alternate ways of thinking about things. They also see threats and risks very quickly and are typically the ones who warn others about any potential danger.

The Careful Part is aligned with the genetic predisposition for “Harm Avoidance.” Harm Avoidance is defined as “anticipatory worry and fear of uncertainty.” In a word, it can be called “anxiousness.”

If you have ever raised a litter of kittens or puppies, you have probably noticed that some of them are naturally adventurous and positive in orientation while others are naturally cautious and negative. This is where the term “Scaredy Cat” came from. Some of the kittens are simply more afraid of harm. And it’s true for children, too. There has been research done on what are called “active babies” versus “fussy babies” who are more anxious and worrisome. This research tracked the more Novelty Seeking children versus the more Harm Avoidance children throughout their lives, and discovered that the fussy babies would have more problems as adults unless they were given a lot of positive attention while growing up.

We acknowledge these two opposing genetic streams as a fundamental
paradox in our oldest, deepest brain, sometimes called our Lizard Brain. On the
one hand, our Lizard Brain is drawn to every new opportunity, like a new food
opportunity for example. But on the other hand, our Lizard Brain must also focus on the possibility that we will be attacked or even eaten if we expose ourselves by going for that new opportunity. If you watch almost any animal eat, you will see it alternating back and forth between eating for a moment and then nervously looking around to be sure it isn’t about to be itself attacked and eaten.

You could say that the animal alternates between optimism and pessimism. This
alternation has been discovered in animals quite far down the food chain, like
minnows, spiders and even fruit flies. This is why the paradox between
optimism and pessimism is acknowledged in virtually every culture. Everyone
knows that some of us see the glass as “half empty”, while others see it as “half full.”

We’re going to put this Careful energy on the left of our picture frame.

Here’s a quick summary of how all four energies show up in kids:

CAREFUL

This kid questions almost everything, being wary of the world and warning others of potential dangers. This kid likes to study and learn everything, and can often see the big picture at an early age. This kid can be self reliant and independent, but can sometimes feel detached or separate from others. Some of these kids are easily scared by almost anything.

LEADER

Intensely optimistic, this kid sees the world as full of opportunities. This kid is adventurous and free, letting the imagination take control and leading others in imaginative play. This kid is often supportive and caring for others but can also be naive and easily manipulated.
This kid might be too generous or too hopeful and then get betrayed.

CONNECTOR

This kid prefers a deep sense of belonging and connection. This kid often has an uncanny sense of how people are feeling. Often with a goal of just being together, this kid loves company and free flowing fun, but can have difficulty staying focused. In wanting to stay connected, this kid can get lost and become dependent on others to make decisions.

PERSISTENT

This kid cares deeply about what is right, preferring to meet reality head on. This kid is often courageous and grounded in challenging situations. This kid tends to love action. With a strong sense of self, this kid is sometimes self-centered, and can be overly forceful and unsafe for others.

Our goal here is to expand your understanding about how you might be using your Careful energy. When are you:

  1. stepping back and observing what’s going on around you, without the cloud of emotion,
  2. weighing many options and looking for new approaches to a situation,
  3. measuring the status quo and looking for danger in what is happening in order to troubleshoot potential pitfalls.

So we focus on what we call the Three Ways to Be Careful. These are Detaching, Optionizing and Alerting. You have probably tried all these ways of being Careful. But you have probably found that some ways feel great while others carry some kind of baggage. We know from science that people inherit different Carefulness styles from their parents. We also know that life can sweeten or sour any experience for us. So you may have lost your appetite for some kinds of Carefulness.

As you read through these, think about which of them feels the most comfortable for you, and which feels uncomfortable.

Detaching: This type loves studying and philosophizing. It can always step back, be objective, and see the big picture. But it can become stiff in unfamiliar circumstances. This type is very self-reliant, observant, and knowledgeable, but can become aloof and distant.

Optionizing: This type seeks to create harmony and security. It likes to remain open to all possibilities, but this can limit decision-making. It loves education in the service of peace-building, but can avoid confrontation or conflict. Spontaneity can be difficult for fear of the harm that lurks.

Alerting: This type questions almost everything because its mission is to warn others about potential problems. It often brings useful feedback and clarity to situations, but can become cynical. It cares deeply about integrity, but can sacrifice connection in this pursuit.

Where do you see yourself in these descriptions? Does one describe you best?
Do others make you feel uncomfortable or bring up judgment in you?

The truth is, all three of these ways to interact in the real world can be helpful in your life, depending on the situation or person in front of you. We believe that the more you understand these patterns, the more power you have to create your reality with intention. You can get better at using any of the three to impact your own reality in more complete ways. We have found some great tools for working with these patterns.

Right now, Connection Gateways is working to connect with people who want to understand more completely the ways that we interact with the world and with each other. If that is you, please contact us to learn more about what we have to offer, and the community we are forming.

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