By Leo Babauta
Once we are procrastinating, avoiding train or another behavior we need to create, or avoiding taking up a tough undertaking … the underlying trigger isn’t what we predict it’s.
We expect that each one we have to do is do the factor we’re avoiding, and cease procrastinating. Easy! However then after we fail, we marvel what’s incorrect with us.
The issue is that we aren’t actually addressing the true trigger. We’re addressing the symptom, and whereas there are strategies that may assist with the symptom, they hardly ever final for very lengthy.
So what causes our avoidance? An underlying emotional present. Some sort of interior state.
Let me stroll you thru it:
- You’re feeling a sure means — due to the best way your life goes, you could be feeling overwhelmed, anxious, afraid, unhappy, lonely, emotionally exhausted, pissed off, battered by life.
- You resist that emotional state — you don’t need to really feel that means, so that you resist letting your self really feel it. This resistance is often within the type of distraction, like on-line distraction, busywork, messaging, and so forth.
- Dealing with tough issues is more durable on this emotional state — turning towards a tough undertaking, or clearing litter, or coping with a thousand emails … these are all overwhelming in the perfect of occasions. However being in a tough emotional state makes it even more durable. No marvel we’re avoiding!
- We attempt to overcome our avoidance with techniques — we attempt to coerce ourselves to do the factor we’re avoiding, with techniques. “No distractions, solely work right now!” And it generally works, however as a result of the underlying emotional state hasn’t been addressed, it by no means lasts lengthy. We return to avoidance.
- This makes us really feel unhealthy, and worsens the underlying emotional state — we really feel unhealthy about ourselves after we revert to avoidance. This solely provides to no matter emotional state was already there. Return to step one above, and repeat, with some added emotional stress!
Any of this sound acquainted? It’s what we’re all going by means of, day by day, often with out figuring out it. Even when we’re conscious, we’re hardly ever truly dealing with it, as a result of we’re resisting the emotional state.
So the 2 issues to handle are:
- We’re unaware of the emotional state inflicting avoidance.
- We resist the emotion, whether or not we’re conscious of it or not.
Let’s speak about the right way to deal with these points, so we are able to deal with the true reason behind avoidance.
Bringing Consciousness to the Internal State
The hot button is to note once you’re avoiding one thing. Is there a undertaking, job, dialog, or private behavior you’re laying aside?
Alternatively, you can discover that you simply’re caught up in distraction — messaging, social media, e-mail, busywork, Youtube, Netflix, information websites, boards, and so forth. Doing somewhat of that is at all times cool, however if you’re caught up doing it lots, then it is a signal you’re in all probability avoiding.
When you discover your avoiding or caught up in distraction … see for those who can discover your underlying interior state. Are you feeling unhappy, grieving or lonely? Overwhelmed, afraid, anxious? Pissed off, indignant, resentful, burdened? Damage, unloved, unseen?
At this level, you don’t need to do something in regards to the emotional state. Simply discover. The extra you carry consciousness, the extra you’ll be capable of deal with it in some unspecified time in the future.
Not Resisting the Emotion
For those who’re avoiding or caught in distraction, it’s a superb wager that you simply’re resisting the emotion. That signifies that you don’t need to really feel it — you’re feeling there’s one thing incorrect with feeling unhappy, indignant, anxious, and so forth. In your head, you may assume there’s nothing incorrect with these emotions … however there’s part of you that doesn’t need to really feel them. Perhaps you assume you may’t deal with it, or it’s too exhausting.
There’s nothing incorrect with resisting the emotion. It’s human to withstand! However so long as we’re resisting it, it’s going to have an influence over us, and avoidance turns into unavoidable.
For those who’re up for letting go of your resistance, the apply is simply to let your self really feel the emotion. Simply really feel unhappy, lonely, anxious, pissed off. Sit in stillness for a couple of minutes, and simply let your self really feel it. The principle instruction is to calm down — let your physique and thoughts calm down, because the emotion comes up.
Give up to the emotion. It’s hardly ever that tough, and can often solely final for a minute or three. If it’s too intense, you may cease — do one thing to take your thoughts off it.
Whether or not you’re capable of give up to it or not, give your self a couple of minutes of self-care after. Give your self compassion, love, a pleasant heat cup of tea. Get a hug from somebody, or discuss to a buddy or therapist. And acknowledge your self for no matter you had been capable of do.
How To not Keep away from
Placing this all collectively, right here’s the right way to create a shift so that you aren’t avoiding as a lot …
Discover once you’re avoiding or caught in distraction.
Discover the underlying interior emotional state.
Give up to the emotional state, letting your self really feel it. Loosen up.
Give your self some love and self-care.
When you’ve executed that, you need to be a lot clearer. Now see in case your coronary heart is extra open to taking up what you’re avoiding.
Simply do 5 minutes of what you’re avoiding, to start out with, to offer your self an emotional victory. It’ll open your coronary heart much more.
Dance in victory!