When faced with a problem, whether made up or otherwise, my first instinct is to shut down. I want to get in bed and hide under the covers. I want to sleep all day, mindlessly surf the internet in between naps, and stare at the TV for hours until its time to go back to bed. When I was younger, I would pretend to be sick so I could stay home from school. (This tactic wasn’t always successful since my mom was a nurse.) Once I could drive myself to school, I would skip school to avoid things like class presentations or not having anyone to eat lunch with. Instead of dealing with whatever is bothering me, I just avoid the issue all together.
As you can probably guess, after 20+ years of avoidance, I don’t have a lot of other strategies for resolving these types of problems. Instead of shutting down, my goal is to be more mindful of my actions, thoughts, and perceptions going forward. There is no point in beating myself up for things that happened in the past. Instead, I can choose to learn from those mistakes. Plus, owning up to my past failures feels surprisingly liberating. For the first time, I am being completely honest with myself.
I say all of this knowing there will be days that I slip up. I’m not perfect. But now I am formally acknowledging my pattern of avoidance. I am very aware that this is a problem for me, and my coping skill of choice isn’t doing me any favors . I feel like this realization is half of the battle. Winning the battle will come next.
Until next time,