Addiction, avoidance, distraction and dwelling

Hiding in plain sight: Addiction, avoidance, distraction and dwelling

Self-awareness is the theme this month and where better place to start than our discomfort!

So, what do addiction, avoidance, distraction and dwelling all have in common? Well, they can all be signs of coping mechanisms which attempt to distance ourselves from a source of pain or discomfort.

Whether the effect is to numb, forget, take our minds off, or over-solve (more on this later), what we’re usually attempting to do when we engage in one of these activities is escape sensations, feelings, thoughts or emotions that accompany a hard truth. And in doing so, also avoiding the hard truth altogether.

Dwelling might seem a strange one to lump in with avoidance, since when we dwell we are actively engaging with a perceived problem. But the thing with dwelling is that we try to resolve our issues purely intellectually (i.e. purely through thinking) rather than taking positive action to help ourselves move forward and heal.

To move forward, we must, ultimately, move through our source of pain. And to do that, we must learn to observe ourselves whilst participating in these actions and ask ourselves what our behaviours might be hiding.

The question is this; if you removed the thought loops, the alcohol, the television binge-watching or the constant attention-seeking, what would you be confronted with?

To answer requires real and raw honesty. And to participate fully in the inevitable discomfort which follows. Like ripping the plaster off, when we soul-search into what it is that we are avoiding, we start to unpack – and see – our discomfort laid bare.

Perhaps the source of our pain is a traumatic event, or a sense of regret. Or it might be belief-oriented, for example, a belief that we are not worthy of love.

It is only when we take the time to sit with ourselves, to really get to know who we are how we feel and what we are thinking that we can begin to move through these hurts and blockages are in our lives.

Whatever the source of our pain, the only dead-cert is that our ignoring, avoidance, distraction, dwelling and excesses will not heal it. The phrase ‘what we resist persists’ refers to the fact that when we engage in behaviours of avoidance, we usually only delay our facing the truth.

If you can identify with avoidant or addictive tendencies and feel safe and supported enough to explore, enquiring around the question ‘what will I think, feel and experience when I stop engaging in XX?’ can be a powerful opener into what you might be attempting to distance yourself from.

To help you with these issues we have created two fantastic Mindset Courses we highly recommend, one called Raise your self-awareness by Katie Leask and another called Mind calm by Sandy Newbigging. They are there to support you as you better get to know yourself in this personal growth journey of yours.

We look forward to encouraging you along the way!