It's a simple question but it might be the most important one you ask yourself this year:
What are you avoiding?
Why does it matter?
Because it's standing between you and the life you want.
It's curtailing your freedom and sucking up your time and energy.
The bottom line is that facing what you're avoiding transforms your life completely, miraculously and 100% for the better.
I was not always a proponent of facing things. Quite the opposite! I have intimate experience with avoidance – I used to affectionately call myself the Queen of Avoidance BUT it only ever got me to the end of a packet of Tim Tams.
I learnt that what's in the way, is the way and we know from research that avoidance is actually a great way to get anxious and sad about life!
The thing is that our bodies have a very short term view on things. When we're unhappy about something, they resourcefully look for something to soothe the boredom, irritation, sadness, whatever.
Something sucks -> avoid it if at all possible.
Now that our phones are at our fingertips, we can immerse ourselves and tune out. We also tune out by overeating, trying even harder to please others, drinking and so on. There are so many ways to check out of our discomforts rather than be with them.
The kicker is that when you tune out the bad you tune out the good.
he result is more than wasted time, extra weight or a terrible hangover. It is being isolated from yourself, from the present and leaves you living half a life.
I'll say it again. Avoidance sucks energy, creativity, joy and presence. It's the shitty way of dealing with discomfort and fear.
Discomfort is normal and fear is always with us when we are trying something new and taking a risk.
So you can start by noticing when you're seeking out a distraction and looking at what you're avoiding.
You can choose to sit with the discomfort and see how you go. You can choose to act instead of avoid.
You wont be and don't need to be perfect with this. I'm certainly not suggesting that you never comfort eat or get lost in fear for a while before a difficult conversation.
What I will say, is that noticing, feeling your feelings, being compassionate to yourself and making a plan to act (and acting), will singlehandedly change your life.
That's worth it, no?
Go ahead and be brave. You've got this!
Hi, I'm Dr Lara Corr, life coach and researcher in work and wellbeing. I coach successful 30 and 40 somethings who want more fulfilling or bigger careers but doubt themselves and their options. I help them get out of their own way, find direction and go for what they really want.