What to do if you’re stuck in a pattern of avoidance

What to do if you’re stuck in a pattern of avoidance

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marchpeace2edited

We’ve all been there.

The thought of facing an unpleasant situation seems almost unbearable. As a result, it gets pushed aside like an old shoe.

“No way…I’m not dealing with this today,” we think. “I’ll just ignore it.”

And so what do we do? We avoid, avoid, avoid.

Avoidance is the age-old reaction to that which we don’t want to deal with.  And why wouldn’t it be? 

It’s like touching a hot stove. Your mind desperately wants to avoid the pain. No one wants deal with something that feels unpleasant.

That said, there’s a problem with this approach.

Though avoidance might seem to solve a problem in the moment, it only leads to suffering in the future.

That’s because resisting makes whatever situation we are dealing with grow. When this happens, the mind does the only thing it knows how to do.

It thinks. And thinks.

And thinks…

As a result, it creates subplots to the story. Reality gets lost in the shuffle and it is nearly impossible to find a way out of the maze. Now I know that’s not the future rut you want to find your way out of.

You see, the easy choice may be avoidance. But the best choice is to try to be present with the reality of the moment.

I know that sounds absolutely exhausting, but here’s what I want you to understand. The key to avoiding future ruts is to deal with the situation at hand. No matter how unpleasant that situation may be.

Like the old saying goes, change what you can and accept the rest. But always try to be present with the reality of the moment.

If reality is painful, then we have to experience that pain.

Although anxiety can feel brutal, it is not dangerous. Like all thoughts and emotions, anxiety will pass. After all, nothing is permanent. (Not even the most anxious of moments…)

This is where I want you to think about mindfulness. Mindfulness is about learning to stick these moments out. Any and all of them.

That means literally avoiding avoidance. 🙂

The takeaway from this post is this… By being present with and accepting reality as it is, we are able to stop resisting that which we fear.

Avoidance may seem like a great answer. But is it really the best choice in the long run?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Feel free to comment.

To your mindfulness,

Dr. Marchand

PS. Stay tuned. My next post will be a meditation exercise about learning to stay present with anxiety. Great follow up to this cheerful post, eh? 🙂


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