Wellness

The Cost of Avoidance

This week we are so excited to have guest writer Kristel Cimoszko! Kristel is the creative mind behind Best Life In A Box. Kristel is a single mother of 4 kids ages 19,16,13 and 11. Kristel has been inspired by her own personal struggles and spends time sharing her own realizations with others as a way of giving back.  We just love what she has to say and know you will find her truly valuable.

I remember the day that I made the decision to accept being wrong. Although it seems like something so insignificant today, I would say that that day paved way for who I would eventually become. Why? Because in my ability to be humble I opened a door for myself to learn and become more. When we are so firm in our position there is no room for growth. 

When I look back at my life it has become clear how the things that I feared, and the things that were the most painful to confront were also the things that offered me some of my life’s most precious gifts. 

That is what I want to share with you today, how through some of your life’s most challenging situations, specifically the ones we avoid, how they are the path to what you actually want. First you must go through them. 

Avoidance. We all do it, but to what extent? What is it that avoidance gives us that allows us to operate, and at what point is it detrimental to us? 

I don’t believe avoidance is bad, I think it can be, but it also can serve a purpose. The key is to know when to use it, and how. 

There are things in our lives that we avoid, that end up having a negative effect on us. Let’s take a few common examples that most of us have faced at one time or another… 

  • avoiding addressing a situation because one fears confrontation
  • avoiding getting started on a personal project for fear of failure
  • avoiding looking at our relationship with our partner for fear that we will acknowledge that we are not fulfilled
  • avoiding looking at our thoughts and behaviours for fear of being wrong 

There is often a common denominator, FEAR.

We fear looking at something because we are afraid of what that might mean for us moving forward. 

We create ideas for ourselves as to what we think the outcome will be, and it in a sense paralyzes us. 

Using the examples set out above:

  • Perhaps we have decided that in having that difficult conversation, that things will only get worse, and it will mean a relationship lost. 
  • Maybe in pursuing our dreams we’ve convinced ourselves this is a dumb idea, it’ll never work, and if we don’t succeed, we’ll look like a failure, only to confirm that we weren’t good enough in the first place. 
  • Acknowledging the disconnect in our relationship means coming back to those hard questions we’ve often thought of … “I know I am not happy, but if I leave, I’ll lose everything, the house, the money, the status, and of course… what will people think!? What if he/she finds someone and I don’t? Who would ever love me, I have _____.” 
  • Then there is the part of us that is proud – especially when we’ve been so adamant about something. To admit we are wrongis a huge failure to us, and it hurts our ego. 

These are often silent thought processes/conversations that are happening internally, and they tend to happen very fast. Often we don’t even notice them unless we stop to observe them.

Until we actually take action, how do we know that any of the above is true? Did we not just make all of those outcomes up to begin with? Sure, perhaps some of it was based on our past experiences, or observing others go through similar situations, but there is always another side to those who are willing to look for it. 

What if it’s all in the way you frame things? What if it’s more about your attitude and outlook on life, than the situation itself?

What if in having that conversation with that person, things get better? What if it doesn’t, but you learn something about yourself and you become a better person as a result? What if you walked away proud of yourself for the position you took, the way you handled yourself, because you were true to you?

What if in the starting of that project it fails, but in that failure you find a new and better idea or way of doing things? What if that failure taught you lessons? What if you grew as a person as a result of it? What if in that failure, it led you to where you’d always dreamed you’d be? 

What if in your vulnerability you and your partner found a solution? What if you didn’t and decided to part ways but took time to get to know you? What if you learned to give yourself everything that you expect others to bring to the table? What if you met someone else that fit you better?

What if you were wrong but were able to admit it, and through that process you learned to accept responsibility for your life in a way that maybe you hadn’t taken up until now? What if your thought processes were accurate and it gave you more confidence in who you are being in this world?

We fear failure because we have assigned meaning to whatever it may be, that the consequences are more painful than the possible beauty that can come as a result of it. We see short-term pain, when life is a long-term game. There is so much to learn in any given moment from everything that is happening around us. 

Avoidance becomes our inability to experience life to the fullest and comes at a huge cost, our happiness. We settle for less so as to not rock the boat. 

So when can avoidance be a good thing? 

Avoidance at times can be just what we need to make it through the next day, until we have the strength and courage to take the next step. Take for example grieving. It is in our best interest to grieve the loss of anything that mattered to us, whether it be a person, a relationship, a dream. However, there are times when overwhelm sets in and it’s far too much to bare. 

For short amounts of time our ability to forget about something or avoid it, is what allows us to function where we otherwise may not be capable of doing so.

It takes a great amount of courage and a great deal of honesty to be able to look inwards and ask ourselves those tough questions.

Avoidance can be strategic, we’re not ready to confront an issue physically yet because some things need to be set in place before we are ready. 

Avoidance can be healthy for us when we avoid a toxic or negative person. 

Avoiding putting ourselves in situations that we know are detrimental to us for one reason or another, is also another example of how avoiding things can work to our advantage.

Avoidance serves a purpose at times, and at other times is detrimental to us living our best life. 

It takes a great amount of courage and a great deal of honesty to be able to look inwards and ask ourselves those tough questions. It can be scary, and it often gets harder before it gets better, but even this serves a purpose. It is in our feeling of “brokenness” that we really find out what matters to us. It really is a beautiful organic process if we slow things down enough to observe it, or have enough distance from the event to look at how everything interacted to get us where we are today. 

We as individuals need to develop the ability to discern when it serves us, and when we are fooling ourselves. 

We see short-term pain, when life is a long-term game.

I challenge you to ask yourself the following questions: 

“What have I been avoiding looking at?”

“What do I fear will happen if I acknowledge this?”

“What possibilities might I open myself up to, if I was to actually do something about it?”

“How have I used avoidance to serve me?”

Awareness is the first step. The moment we are ready to be real with ourselves, is the moment we can actually do something about it.

Avoid what you need to at this moment, and have the courage to look at the things you fear, for on the other side of fear is everything you desire.

Wishing you love, clarity and all good things.

-Kristel Cimoszko 

Want to learn more about Kristel and the great work she does? You can check her out on instagram and on her website

 

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