Boiled frog syndrome: how to learn to notice that life is going to hell before it's too late

What is a frog in boiling water

There is a common myth about the frog. Allegedly, if you throw it into a pot of hot water, it will immediately jump out. But if you put it in cold water and gradually warm it up, then the animal will not feel much discomfort. It will gradually adapt to the changes and stay on fire, and eventually boil alive.

Modern scientists refute this idea. In their opinion , everything is quite the opposite: if you throw a frog into boiling water, it will most likely die. And if the water in which the amphibian is located gradually becomes unpleasantly hot, it will jump out.

However, it’s not about frogs. This story is often used as a metaphor for people. If a person is faced with drastic changes, he somehow reacts to them – protests, jumps out of the “pot”, in which he became uncomfortable, changes something in his life. If innovations appear gradually, then he perceives them differently – he smoothly adapts to other realities and can come to his senses only when everything is incorrigibly terrible.

The story of the frog is often used, for example, when talking about global warming . Because it is very literally correlated with the context of the myth. Ecologists say that the Earth’s average temperature is rising, but it’s happening so slowly that people hardly pay attention. However, if you continue to ignore the problem, the situation may become irreversible. And that means climate change, melting glaciers, fresh water shortages, floods, and so on.

What is Boiled Frog Syndrome

Boiled frog syndrome is a condition of a person when he lives in clearly unfavorable, constantly deteriorating conditions, adapts to them, but does nothing to change something. However, he may ignore the problem or downplay its severity.

Take, for example, the financial crisis. The management comes in and says: “So far, we are not cutting anyone’s salaries, but sometimes you have to work overtime. But we believe that things will get better.” Employees are uncomfortable, but they decide to be patient. It is difficult to look for a new place in such conditions, but at least there is money. After some time, the authorities declare that they stop paying the bonus part, which is half of the total amount – you have to wait. And the employees continue. Then some of the workers are laid off, and their duties are distributed to the rest. That is, in the end, a person agreed to work 12 hours instead of eight, do twice as many things, and get half as much for it. And, most importantly, no one kept him in all this, he was always free to leave.

If you could describe boiled frog syndrome in two words, it would be “patience” and “hope.” A person patiently adapts to change because he hopes that everything will work out. Which is incredible, of course. And then it gets too late. Getting used to the new realities, he spent all his strength and resources and cannot jump out of this “pot of boiling water”.

People in general adapt well to circumstances, but often this plays a cruel joke on them. They are ready to adapt and not change anything, because this creates the illusion of stability. Ironic, because ignoring transformations does not cancel them. The longer a person does not notice them, the more serious their consequences will be.

What to do so as not to be a boiled frog

Learn to listen to yourself

From childhood, we are taught many things that ultimately destroy the connection with ourselves: that you need to be patient, that “I am the last letter in the alphabet”, that in a controversial situation it is better to do nothing, because it can get even worse. Some turn out to be excellent at this and eventually stop noticing uncomfortable sensations, because otherwise it will not be easy to push their desires into the background.

But emotions like anger, irritation are given to us for a reason . These are signals by which you can understand: something is going wrong. Therefore, it is important to reconnect with yourself, learn to listen to yourself. Before you begin to selflessly endure, you need to figure out what, in fact, is the matter, and find that the water is heating up before it is too late.

Don’t Ignore Change

Frogs notice when the water heats up. And we don’t miss when the situation changes. But our psyche has defense mechanisms that allow us to pretend that nothing is happening, even if we are faced with troubles face to face. Because otherwise you have to admit that something happened and life in some of its aspects will never be the same again. It’s sad, scary, painful.

But sooner or later you will have to face the consequences. And sad, scary, it will still hurt. Therefore, it is better to look at the world with open eyes. This makes it possible to receive and analyze information and choose what to do. Even if you decide to be patient now, it will be conscious.

Don’t be afraid to change your point of view

There is another problem that prevents us from adequately responding to the situation. Sometimes this requires rethinking everything that we have believed in until now. The process is unpleasant – because then it turns out that all the previous time we were wrong. Therefore, it is easier for some people to continue to be mistaken than to admit it to themselves.

But it’s okay to change your mind. This does not cancel your previous experience, but it gives you a chance to improve your life.

See how it’s different

In general, there should be advice “analyze your life.” After all, you can be in the middle of a “boiling” cycle and already partially accustomed to a situation that poisons existence. But let’s be realistic: this is difficult to do without the help of a specialist , and especially when the water is still at a comfortable temperature and seems normal.

What you can really do is to see what else happens. And it sometimes leads to certain thoughts. For example, our person from the work example can look around and see that there are people who, even in the conditions of a financial crisis, find a new job, grow in salary and do not work. Although there are those who lose their places, of course. But his scenario is not the only possible one. And if so, it can be changed.

Take responsibility for your life

The syndrome of a frog in boiling water implies, among other things, a certain passive attitude to what is happening. Passages like “you have to be patient, and then everything will be fine” already contain the message that someone should come and ensure this is the most “normal”. And your life is in your hands.

Even if the changes do not depend on you at all, natural disasters, the government, reptilians are to blame for them – this still does not mean anything. It gives you circumstances. How you live in them is up to you .

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