The subject I’m feeling today is avoidance.
Why do we avoid doing things? Laziness, fear, or procrastination perhaps.
I agree with the first two, but will add some hot sauce to the latter with this truth: procrastination is fear in a different wardrobe. The two are one in the same my friends.
Let me explain by telling you my experience with the double-headed beast. I was a constant procrastinator. I avoided doing things until the last-minute for many years.
I kept “not doing” things because there was something about the “do it or fail” pressure that turned my crank.
And luckily I seemed to do well when the pressure was on, at least in college. Many an A was received via this method, much to the annoyance of my classmates. Whatever. It worked for me. For a while, at least.
I also avoided doing things because I was scared that I wouldn’t do a good job.
I clearly didn’t like myself very much because when you do like who you are you don’t put so much stress and pressure on yourself with all that last minute-ing stuff.
But now things are different. I no longer label myself as a procrastinator, but rather, a person who occasionally finds herself head to head with fear, battling with the thoughts that say, “hey, don’t do that, you don’t know what the hell you’re doing and will end up making a gigantic mess of <insert task here>.”
This issue with avoidance did not apply to schoolwork alone. In the past, I used a whole pile of discombobulated reasoning methods and tactics to justify my avoidance issues.
After some reflection I can now clearly see that there was a whole mess of things that I avoided, which proved to be quite damaging over the years:
- I avoided apologizing because I associated apologizing with being weak.
- I avoided standing up for myself because I didn’t want to be considered a “pain”, especially in workplace settings (ironically in my personal life I was hyper-aggressive in that department).
- I avoided being the sensitive, kind, and compassionate person that I am because I believed being harsh and tough was a strength.
- I avoided saying no to people so that they would like me (boyfriends, friends, and family members).
- I avoided the truth of my worth by letting people abuse me over and over again.
- I avoided looking after myself physically and mentally for many years.
- I avoided the fact that I had some serious issues with alcohol for many years.
- I avoided loving myself.
The summary of all of these confessions is that for many years I didn’t think I mattered.
To be clear: I take full responsibility for the way in which my life unfolded and the circumstances and situations I found myself in.
But I was quite damaged for a long time, and I struggle to even begin to explain how I got outside of the quicksand of negativity and pain I lived in all those years.
Thankfully those days are mostly over. Mostly I say, because in times of weakness (read: lack of sleep) I find it wildly easy to fall back into the old thought patterns that brought me to the darkest times of my life.
The moral of the story today is that I think it would do us all some good to deconstruct the situations in which we find ourselves procrastinating.
Understanding the why behind our tendency to sabotage our happiness by avoiding tasks that would do us some good to deal with head-on, and in a timely fashion, is powerful.
Answer the question: Why am I avoiding <insert scene here>?