Avoidance is defined as, “Keeping away or stopping one’s self from doing something”.
Have you ever found yourself avoiding a situation or a person in fear of what you’ll have to face?
When it comes to avoiding we are all masters of creating a means of escape. Take, for example, going to the gym.
There may have been a legitimate reason for not attending, something got in the way and it couldn't be helped. But, roll on another few days and you still have not been back. What started as a small decision grows into a larger one and, over the course of only a few days, it’s become huge deal in your head.
New reasons become more important over the gym. Whilst you know deep down that you could go, you build a story around the reasons why you can’t.
The stories that you create give meaning to the reasons you have created for not attending - you make them legitimate, validating your fears. Without realising it you are now avoiding going to the gym all together.
If you write down all the fears that are resulting in avoiding the gym, what would they be?
I have spoken about Susan Jeffers before and for good reason. She poses the question:
“If you knew you could handle anything that came your way, what would you possibly have to fear? The answer is: NOTHING!”
Of all the fears that you write down, how many do you KNOW are actual reality? The answer is…. none!
If there is something that you are avoiding right now out of fear, think of ways to break those fears down.
Let’s use the original example – The gym has now become a huge deal, a huge fear. But rather than seeing the gym as big steps to face of walking in, seeing people, foam rolling, warming up, working out, foam rolling, warming down, saying goodbye to people…
JUST TAKE THE FIRST STEP, just one - just walk in through the door, or even, walk through and see people.
In taking just one simple step, you can already eradicate some of those fears and remove the barriers that are causing you to avoid. Once you see that these fears were not founded, add more steps. Start to warm up whilst you catch up with friends, and finally, take the plunge and work out.
Whilst avoidance gives us short term relief, the reality is that we can’t avoid some things forever. The great news is that once we realise how to deal with it there’s no going back.