How Does Avoidance Show Up in Your Life?

“People will do anything, no matter how absurd, to avoid facing their own souls.” – Carl Jung

Whenever we avoid or circumvent a fear in a our life, in the moment it feels like comfort, like we are avoiding the pain, the hardship, and the strife of having to deal with the fear.

But what is even more painful than challenging and facing our fear directly is avoiding the fear. Because the very thing we are avoiding having to face will show up in other areas of our lives.

When we avoid our fear, if manifests in a multitude of other forms and it reconstitutes itself emotionally as reoccurring nightmares, anxiety, rage, boredom, overeating. It manifests physically as excess body weight, digestive problems, body aches, migraines and fatigue.

One of the most insidious ways that we cope with our fear is through compulsive behavior.

We have conditioned ourselves to use any tactic necessary in order to not have to face that which we do not want to face. Those circumstances and issues that provoke feelings of unworthiness, boredom, purposelessness, lack, or uncertainty, confusion, or stress, can make us turn to behaviors to short circuit us having to deal, having to take responsibility, having to find a solution.

But every time we escape or run or avoid, the pain remains.

We do not get through and get past the pain via avoidance. We get through and past the pain by facing it, feeling it, questioning it, and examining it.

In what ways does avoidance manifest in your life?

What pattern of avoidance predominates in your life–does it pop up most often when you are dealing with physical ailments, certain relationship triggers such as rejection or lack of validation?

Perhaps it is not the fear itself that you need to run away from but the running behavior in and of itself. Perhaps what’s stopping you is not the fear but your intolerance of feeling your fear.

Your running behavior is a sign from the universe that you should run to this fear.

Instead of allowing this fear to control your life (via running – whatever you avoid ultimately controls you), it is time to confront this fear and whatever uncomfortable feelings it brings up for you.

As long as you keep avoiding it, whatever it is (i.e. bodily discomfort, a chronic physical condition, an assignment), it will keep popping up in other areas of your life to teach you the lesson it is trying to teach you.

We don’t learn the lesson unless we are willing to listen and to learn. We learn nothing when we continually to avoid via compulsive behaviors of any kind.

And there will always be fear in your life, it’s how you cope with it that means everything. As long as we are human and alive there is fear because there is the unknown.

It is human to fear yet we die every time we choose to run from ourselves rather than accepting ourselves. We die every time we numb ourselves instead of being present to the discomfort and the pain that resides in our bodies.

Notice the triggers that make you want to escape. Whether it is that evokes feelings of emptiness, loneliness, and worthlessness in you. Whatever it is that makes you feel intolerable and brings up an insatiable craving to drown in a substance that is anything and anywhere but here and now, notice that. The secret to escaping the compulsion is the awareness that you are never ever getting away from anything.

Just be here, now, that is all you have to do.

Each time you are present, you get closer to resolving the fear that you so desperately are avoiding.

How Compulsion is an Opportunity to Grow

“In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.” – Albert Einstein

Feeling the compulsive desire to leave this moment is a good thing.

It’s a sign pointing to something deeper.

There will always be moments in life where we feel like leaving, there will always be times when situations are uncomfortable and we feel powerless. It is inevitable that we will not like our life circumstance.

When you feel like bolting, have awareness and gratitude, for this is a chance to cultivate being.

It’s in those times than we feel powerless afraid and uncomfortable that we can deepen our faith, deepen ability to be present — like a meditation, it’s a skill set.

Leaving the moment through some compulsive behavior is more comforting and painless than it is facing whatever it is you don’t like, but dealing with the consequences of using and falling into the pattern of escaping when discomfort hits is even more painful. Feelings of powerlessness and discomfort are inevitable but fueling those very feelings through escape is not an answer to the solution and only exacerbates the problem.

To be able to sit through discomfort and be with it is a practice that develops and strengthens faith whereas using sabotages faith.

It’s not about not using but it is through not using and facing whatever life throws at you that is the purpose.

You do not learn the lesson and grow and mature in any way.

But when you follow the spiritual path of not using you use your faith and something within you transforms.

Something miraculous happens when you don’t act out on a compulsion.

Compulsions are your brain’s telling you that you are uncomfortable.

You grow and adapt and are molded into who you are meant to be when you don’t act out, you develop character, faith, and spiritual attunment.

For some reason, those things are halted through using and the life lesson the universe wants you to learn is being avoided through using.

Life gets uncomfortable –> use –> nothing learned
Life gets uncomfortable –> deal with it regardless of how much it sucks –> God (universe) molds you a little more on how to deal and teaches you something about what’s causing the discomfort

Every time you want to use, the universe is wanting to teach you something and reveal to you something but you cannot receive this message if you are using.

There is beauty in abstinence, a life free from compulsive action.

What daily habits do you have that you engage in that feel compulsive? Is it watching too much tv, procrastination, ruminating and worrying, snacking or overeating?

Instead of running away and escaping, take these as signs to look inward. These are the unique opportunities you have to learn to learn and to grow deeper.