Every day I am presented with reinforcement from top notch authors and gurus around the world, of the small and obvious, yet distressing truth. The only way to truly find peace, joy and inner contentment is to walk through the middle of your pain, feel your icky feelings, express and process them.
Too often however the icky feelings present us with such fear, debilitating and terrifying sensations that they send us into a tail spin of anxiety and depression. Once we are in our tail spin we look to our most loved distraction techniques, or create new ones to use as our tactics to avoid ourselves and our feelings.
This mode of internal operation continues to send us into more anxiety and depression. So even though we are trying to escape ourselves we are unknowingly creating more internal distress.
It’s ludicrous really that distractions only serve to take us further away from ourselves and hence add and create enormous mounting anxiety on top of an already fragile and lost soul.
Having been there myself I know how terrifying these emotions can be. Looking back in hindsight I could have saved years if only I was courageous enough at the time to face up to myself, find my authenticity and allow my fragile feelings to be heard.
Instead, I, like many others used my favourite distractions as an escape and was running on such an anxiety treadmill I really didn’t realise at the time what I was doing. I just had to keep running, running as far away from myself as I could go, stopping was far to petrifying, I had no idea how to deal with stopping. No one ever taught me.
I hoped and prayed the feelings I was dismissing would continue to stay away if I could only persist in taking my focus off them, and place it on other activities or neurosis. A new career, a new car, a new partner maybe one of these were the problems. In fact, it was really just me wanting to listen and look after me.
The feelings I thought I was dismissing so well, were smarter than me though and knew how to present me with a big anxiety disorder to deal with.
I learnt though, finally, it was not until I stopped, turned around and faced myself, fell into the well of darkness, acknowledged my inner feelings and allowed myself to be heard that suddenly scraps of joy and peace started to appear.
The anxiety disappeared, or most of it anyway.
It was a long hard and strenuous journey, but so well worth it. Now instead of running with an anxious mind I stop and smell the roses, literally. My dogs are most grateful for it, our walks are significantly more relaxed and enjoyable.
What your feelings may not have told you is that they are happy to wait for you. They are happy for you to live in an anxiety ridden state until you come to the point that things have spiralled so far downwards that you need to consider facing yourself rather than continuing to dance the avoidance jig.
Avoidance and distraction techniques can grow considerably over time into risky and at times life threatening situations. All this to avoid a few feelings, essentially a disowning a part of you.
The thing is, the feelings continue to wait, and they won’t go away until you face them.
Sometimes, you have to hit rock bottom to get your wake up call.
Other times, you can make a choice, your choice, to pull yourself out of this crazy existence before you hit your rock bottom.
It really is that easy a solution. It’s not necessarily as easy to implement the solution though. It can be a treacherous journey. But, it is the solution to our getting past our pain, and at some point you will need to make the journey, if you are seeking the best life you can live.
Stop, turn around, look at yourself and face your feelings. Feel, process and express them. For on the other side of the fear and the icky feelings is the joy and the happiness just waiting to be exposed and lived.
There will be some emotions you feel more comfortable with, positive and negative. Others will make you want to run, duck and hide when they show up on your emotional radar. We all have our own distraction techniques that we use so beautifully and efficiently to avoid challenging emotions.
If you can become more aware of your distraction techniques, you can start to work on being more present in the moment and feel your emotions instead of hiding from them. Be honest with yourself.
Think outside the square when you reflect on your distraction techniques. Sometimes distractions are bad for you, but in certain situations they can be good. These good techniques are only helpful at times though, and you may find yourself leaning on them a little too much, to reduce the impact of your feelings.
Some destructive techniques could be smoking, drinking too much, overeating, drugs, gambling, being promiscuous, self harm, getting involved in others’ dramas and a myriad of other negative behaviours.
Other more positive distractions techniques could be going to the gym, reading self help books or helping others. These may appear to be good for you and your soul but be honest with yourself if you are overindulging in these to run away from your emotions.
1. What form of distraction do you use to ensure you keep your emotions tied up in a pretty box?
2. What do you turn to when life becomes uncomfortable?
3. What would you like to give up that you find difficult?
4. What do you crave when you feel emotional?
5. What calms you down if you feel highly emotional?
6. What habit do you find self destructive but you continue to do?
7. What habit makes you feel bad about yourself when you partake in it?
8. What habit would you like to stop to be a better role model for your family and children?
9. When you are going through a rough patch, what do you find yourself indulging more of?
10. If you feel sad, instead of allowing yourself to cry, what do you do instead?
11. If you feel anxious, instead of feeling shaky, nauseous and powerless, what do you do instead?
12. If you feel angry, instead of allowing yourself to yell or let your anger out, what do you do instead?
13. Do others comment on what you do when you are emotional?
14. Do you have any healthy distraction techniques that you lean on?
15. Reflect on what could be a better choice when you find yourself in the midst of your distraction?
Use the answers to these questions to get to know yourself a little better. Try something different. Once you face your feelings they become so much less scary and can even become our friends.
Avoidance will keep the feeling present inside you.
Be Aware, Feel, Process, Express, Heal
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