Uncomfortable situations. Difficult conversations. Acknowledging a problem. Facing the reality of a bad relationship. Posting a blog on avoidance…..
These are all things that people actively avoid. What you avoid can unfortunately define you just as much as the things you actually do. Discovering exactly what you are avoiding and why can help you move past your avoidance and into a more productive and fulfilling life.
What emotions are driving your avoidance?
No matter what you’re avoiding, there are probably some negative emotions associated with it. Fear, sadness, anger, disgust, or guilt. These could be related to events in your childhood. Perhaps you’ve been raised to be hyper-competitive, to see the world as a zero-sum game. Or maybe you had an over-controlling parent, and you now feel inadequate to make big life decisions on your own. These emotions can be a red flag to help you identify what you are avoiding and why.
How to move forward
Step back and identify the assumptions or beliefs that are driving the avoidance. Revisit some of your assumptions about how the world works to see if they hold up under scrutiny. Reexamine your beliefs about yourself to see if they are helpful or even applicable to the person you are now.
For example, say you grew up in a situation where a sibling got upset when you were the center of attention instead of them. Downplaying your success and not asserting yourself may have seemed helpful at the time, at least in keeping family harmony. When you step back and examine the belief that “I should downplay my success,” you may find that you are missing out on career or relationship opportunities.
New Actions, New Thoughts
Once you identify these beliefs you can be more aware of when they are affecting your thinking and start to reduce the influence they have on your actions. You will need to push through the discomfort you feel as you begin to act differently. The unease will decrease as you make these changes into habits and as you notice the positive consequences of those changes. These consequences will help you continue to push yourself to change your thinking and behaviors and move closer to being the person you want to be in the world.
Therapy will help you get to the root causes of your avoidance more quickly and efficiently. You’ll also have the benefit of weekly sessions where you reinforce, get consistent support and feedback for the changes you are making in your life. If you have any questions or would like help with overcoming your avoidance please contact me for a free 15 minute phone consultation.
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