by Leo Babauta
When we procrastinate, avoid exercise or other habits we want to develop, or avoid working on a difficult project…we think the root cause is It’s almost never a thing.
We think we should do what we’re avoiding and just stop procrastinating. Simple! But when we fail, we wonder what went wrong.
The problem is that we are not addressing the real cause. We are working on this condition. There are tactics to relieve symptoms, but they rarely last long.
So what causes us to avoid it? underlying emotional flow. some kind of internal state.
Let’s explain about it:
- you have certain feelings – Because of the way your life is going, you may be feeling overwhelmed, anxious, scared, sad, lonely, emotionally drained, frustrated, and overwhelmed by life.
- you resist that emotional state — You resist letting yourself feel it because you don’t want to feel that way. This resistance usually comes in the form of online distractions, busy work, messaging, and other distractions.
- In this emotional state, it becomes even more difficult to face difficult things. — Tackling difficult projects, cleaning up clutter, and juggling thousands of emails can all be overwhelming at the best of times. But being in a difficult emotional state makes it even more difficult. No wonder we avoid it.
- We try to overcome avoidance with tactics — We use tactics to force us to do what we are avoiding. “Don’t get distracted, just do your work today!” Sometimes that works, but it never lasts because the underlying emotional state is not resolved. Back to the topic of avoidance.
- This makes you feel worse and worsens your underlying emotional state — When we return to avoidance behavior, we feel bad about ourselves. This will only further worsen the already existing emotional state. Go back to the first step above and repeat with added mental stress.
Does this sound familiar? It’s something we all experience every day without even realizing it. Even if we are aware of it, we rarely actually confront it because we resist our emotional state.
So the two issues to address are:
- We are unaware of the emotional state that is causing our avoidance.
- Whether we realize it or not, we resist the feeling.
Let’s talk about how to deal with these issues so that you can address the real causes of avoidance.
bring awareness to inner states
The important thing is to notice when you’re avoiding something. Are there any projects, tasks, conversations, or personal habits that you’ve been putting off?
Or you may find yourself getting caught up in distractions like messaging, social media, email, busy work, Youtube, Netflix, news sites, forums, etc. It’s always good to do a little bit of this, but if you’re obsessed with doing something a lot, this is probably a sign you’re avoiding it.
If you find yourself avoiding or getting caught up in distractions, see if you can become aware of your underlying inner state. Are you feeling sad, sad or lonely? Feeling overwhelmed, afraid, and anxious? Are you feeling frustrated, angry, resentful, or burdened? Hurt, unloved, unseen?
There is no need to do anything about your emotional state at this point. Just be aware. The more you are aware of it, the more you will be able to deal with it someday.
don’t resist emotions
If you avoid or distract yourself from an emotion, you may be resisting it. It means you don’t want to feel that emotion. You feel that there is something wrong with feeling sad, angry, anxious, etc. In your head, you may think there’s nothing wrong with these feelings…but there’s a part of you that isn’t. I don’t want to feel them. Maybe you think it’s impossible or too difficult for you.
There’s nothing wrong with resisting your emotions. Humans are the ones who resist! But as long as we resist it, it becomes a power over us and avoidance becomes inevitable.
If you are willing to let go of resistance, simply practice feeling the emotion. Just sad, lonely, anxious, and frustrated. Sit quietly for a few minutes and just feel it. The main instruction is to relax. When your emotions come up, relax your body and mind.
Surrender to your emotions. It’s rarely that hard and usually she only lasts 1-3 minutes. If it’s too intense, it’s okay to stop. Do something to distract yourself.
Whether you can surrender to it or not, take a few minutes of self-care afterward. Give yourself compassion, love, and a cup of hot tea. Give someone a hug, talk to a friend or a therapist. And acknowledge everything you’ve done.
Ways not to avoid
To put all this together, here’s how to create a shift without avoiding too much.
Avoid distractions or notice when you are stuck in them.
Pay attention to your underlying inner emotional state.
Surrender yourself to your emotional state and feel it. relax.
Give yourself some love and self-care.
Once that’s done it should be much clearer. See if your heart is now more open to accepting what you are avoiding.
Start by giving yourself an emotional win by doing the thing you’re avoiding for just 5 minutes. This will help you open your heart even more.