What are you avoiding?

When a person can’t find a deep sense of meaning, they distract themselves with pleasure.

Viktor Frankl

What does it mean to avoid a feeling?

It means to directing your attention away from something that feels unpleasant to something that feels more pleasurable.

This goes back to the idea of wanting to feel good all of the time.

Just because something feels good, doesn’t mean that it is good for us.

And just because something feels negative or unpleasant, doesn’t mean it is bad.

When we are always seeking pleasure, we are missing out on the things we could truly desire.

Eating ice cream and chocolate feel very pleasurable, but they are not good for us long term.

We usually feel the discomfort soon after eating the thing.

Avoiding a negative feeling is only a temporary fix.

You will still feel a negative feeling, you really just get to decide what version of suffering you prefer.

Do you want to be uncomfortable in a body that is out of control, seeking pleasure from food?

Or do you want to experience the discomfort of an unanswered urge? Or boredom?

One of the main sources for avoiding how we are feeling is food.

Some might say they eat their feelings.

This is not possible.

You can only dull your feeling by eating food.

Just as an empty glass will vibrate stronger than a full glass.

Eating simply dulls the emotions you are feeling.

Not just the negative ones. The positive ones too.

By avoiding or distracting yourself from feeling your emotions, you are missing out on the full human experience.

All emotions are necessary.

Once you are willing to feel any of them, you get to take your pick.

You will still feel the discomfort, possibly even stronger.

But the positive emotions will also be stronger.

Your capacity to feel will grow.

Don’t be fooled by the temptation of instant gratification.

It is costing you more than you know.

Acting out

You are always responsible for how you ACT regardless of how you FEEL.

Anonymous

Humans are emotional creatures.

This is especially apparent in young children.

You can always tell how they are feeling because they act out all of their emotions.

When they are sad, they look the part. Bottom lip stuck out, tears streaming down their cheeks, nose running, breathing slowly.

The same is true when they are happy. You can feel their happiness because it radiates off of them.

Children are great at acting out their emotions.

They also think that everything they feel is because of someone or something else.

Humans grow up believing that they aren’t responsible for how they feel, and then act in ways they can’t seem to control.

This leads to blaming other people and other things for how you feel. Your coach. Your teammate. Your parents. Your teachers. Your opponent. The score. The weather. The time. The traffic.

You get the idea.

If you could control all of the things and people in your life, no doubt that would be the best option. But you can’t.

Becoming emotionally mature means you accept full responsibility for how you feel and for how you act.

This means, knowing whatever you are feeling is because of what you are focusing on.

It is always caused by a sentence in your brain.

Once you are aware of this, then you can choose to act in a way that will help you get the result you really want.

For example, when you are feeling mad because you are thinking your parents don’t understand you and aren’t listening, you might be tempted to yell and argue and act mad.

What you really want is to feel understood, not mad.

When you have the emotional capacity to notice that it is the thought “they don’t understand me and aren’t listening to me” that is causing the feeling of mad, then you can solve for that.

Instead of yelling and blaming your parents for you feeling mad, you can express calmly that you are feeling misunderstood and continue a conversation without reacting.

Knowing what feeling you want to be acting out of makes all the difference.

Accepting that you are the one in control by taking responsibility for your actions is the first step.

Allowing all the feelings without judgement is the next step.

Take your power back and stop blaming others for how you act.

It is totally worth it. You will be so glad you did.

How to stop being confused

Everything is figureoutable.

Marie Forleo

Do “I don’t know” and “I’m confused” sound familiar?

What about “It’s too hard?”

How often do you find yourself saying these words?

Notice what doubt and confusion create.

When you say that you don’t know what to do or that you are confused, what usually comes next?

It usually provides a subtle sense of relief and a lack of responsibility. This is then followed by expecting someone or something else to tell you how or what to do.

This lack of responsibility then gives away your power. You are no longer in control because something outside of you has to solve for you not knowing or being confused.

There is no upside.

Not knowing and being confused simply prevent you from moving forward and keep you stuck right where you are at. They keep your brain busy, but it is not productive.

The good news is that “I don’t know” and “I’m confused” are both thoughts.

You can decide to never allow those thoughts to stick around.

So, what can you think instead?

It is far more useful to think you are figuring something out or haven’t decided yet, than to say you’re confused or you don’t know.

Be on to your brain.

Dwelling in confusion and not knowing takes away all your power. They leave you waiting for something outside of you to solve your problem.

The only problem you ever have is a thought problem.

You have everything you need within you right now.

Ask yourself better questions. Your brain loves to find answers for you.

Decide you will never allow yourself to be confused or say you don’t know ever again.