Do you ever find yourself avoiding those difficult conversations or putting off important tasks? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many of us struggle with avoidance, and it can really hold us back. When we avoid things, we miss out on opportunities, strain our relationships, and ultimately don’t reach our full potential.
This week, we’re going to explore the concept of avoidance and how it can affect us. We’ll talk about the importance of embracing discomfort and building resilience through courageous actions, like saying the thing we’ve been avoiding or doing that task we’ve been putting off.
Keep reading to learn some tips on how to overcome avoidance and take courageous steps towards a more fulfilling life.
Avoidance is the act of staying away from or not doing something. In relationships, it often means not saying what needs to be said, which is the opposite of radical truth telling.
We engage in avoidance when we resist having difficult conversations, being direct, clear, or thorough, or postponing things. We may use excuses, reasons, and other obligations to justify our avoidance. Internal indicators such as anxiety, tension, sweating, and a racing heart can reveal that we are afraid and lack the confidence to face what may arise.
Avoidance means we are in resistance. We avoid unpleasant, unsafe, and uncomfortable situations. We may avoid expressing ourselves because we fear upsetting or losing someone. We may also avoid triggering a particular emotion, such as anger or depression.
This avoidance can occur when we take too much responsibility for other people’s feelings and experiences, take things personally, or have weak boundaries that allow others’ emotions and experiences to become our own.
It’s okay to feel scared sometimes, but we need to be brave enough to face our fears. Avoiding difficult conversations or situations may seem easier in the moment, but it can lead to long-term problems. By expressing ourselves honestly and directly, we can create healthier relationships and avoid misunderstandings.
If you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed, take a moment to breathe deeply and collect your thoughts. Remember that you have the power to choose how you respond to difficult situations. By facing challenges head-on, you can build your confidence and grow as a person.
How do I know if I am avoiding?
Excuses, reasons, and busy schedules or other obligations often come up when we’re avoiding something. However, our own internal indicators, such as a nagging feeling in the gut, muscle tightness, shortness of breath, loss of thought, sweating, and heart racing, can also signal that we’re anxious, scared, or fearful. This is usually because we lack confidence, don’t know where to start, or feel incompetent to face what may arise within us or with another person. Sometimes, things may just feel too big to handle.
The key is not to take on other people’s thoughts, emotions, expressions, or experiences. To achieve this, we can embrace discomfort, both our own and others’. By asking profound and powerful questions, we can gain wisdom that we might otherwise overlook.
One way to leverage discomfort is by asking questions such as “What is this? Why are you here? What do you have for me? Where did this come from? Why is this occurring? How can you support me?” When we ask such questions, we’re more likely to gain profound and powerful insights.
Another technique is to get comfortable with discomfort, both our own and that of others. Reflect on situations where you feel uncomfortable and try to lean into the discomfort. This can be a powerful teacher that allows us to approach difficult situations directly and honestly.
Questions for reflection:
Use these questions to reflect on how avoidance may be affecting your life and relationships. The following questions will help you explore the concept of avoidance and how you can overcome it.
- What topics do you tend to avoid discussing with others? What spaces do you avoid? Why do you think this is, and how can you lean into discomfort and address these issues?
- How does your avoidance or enmeshment negatively affect yourself and others? How does it strip you or them of power?
- What happens when you become uncomfortable with discomfort? Do you become anxious, speak more, provide answers or guidance, shut down, or redirect the conversation to another topic? How can you approach discomfort in a more productive way?
Reflecting on these questions can be a valuable exercise in understanding how avoidance may be affecting your life and relationships. By embracing discomfort and taking courageous actions, you can overcome avoidance and reach your full potential.