Peace and Healing

A Perspective of Traditional and Non-Traditional Methods of Healing


What is Avoidance?

Avoidance, the word, originated in the 14th century meaning to dodge or evade an event or an occurrence. There are many reasons why humans avoid. We avoid relationships, love, truth, money, debt and even avoid the ferris wheel. The most common reason we avoid is out of fear. Many issues in life that are avoided stem from fear of the unknown or we have had a bad previous experience with an event or stimuli. In animal studies we see the avoidance of electric shock a classic behavior modification that simply shows living creatures avoid noxious stimuli. We are wired to survive, to be happy, and repeat. Avoidance can be our way of dodging conflict, avoiding fear, avoiding sadness, pain or perceived pain. Some individuals have become so adept at avoidance that they live their life in a constant state of lies. These individuals avoid the truth for they usually cannot face the truth or they make promises they cannot keep.

If one never learned effective means of communication, or never experienced resolution and the positive reward of compromise then one is left with avoidance. If avoidance is perceived as a weakness, or a “sell out” of one’s ego then we see arrogance, arguments, and blame. Conflicts resolve with only a few basic outcomes. They become heated with no resolution and bad feelings ensue, there is compromise with resolution, there is the sacrifice and acknowledgment that one party is correct which takes humility, or avoidance.

Why do we avoid?

The vast majority of avoidance issues stem from fear. We avoid heights for we are afraid. All phobias have a clear avoidance issue attached to it. Individuals who have had a bad previous experience avoid out of fear. This is not to say that avoidance is all bad. When we learn that fire burns us we avoid the flame. That is learned behavior. Avoiding harmful experiences is a healthy learning behavior which aids us in survival. Some of us avoid success for we are unsure of our ability. Our self esteem, or belief of our talents is so shattered that we avoid pursuing a goal. The importance of assessing our avoidant behavior MUST be looked at it if we want to progress in life on a pleasant path with less stress. By not looking and acknowledging this unfortunate behavior is…yes, avoidance. Interesting we avoid looking at our avoidant behavior. Individuals that consistently over time pick unhealthy partners begin to avoid relationships, blame others, become hyper-vigilant or even a tad paranoid which can lead to depression and distrust. A cycle from hell that becomes difficult to bail out of. Until one looks at themselves, REALLY , TRULY LOOKS AT WHAT THEY OWN they will not bail out of this cycle.

How does one resolve avoidance?

We live in a society that inherently externalizes blame. We blame each political party, we blame religions, we blame atheists, we blame ourselves without looking at why and we blame our parents. To solve avoidance is to solve personal responsibility. When we become responsible for “US” we are beginning to deal with avoidance. One cannot advance in any endeavor whether it be a relationship, a job search, or a longing for a hobby unless we take responsibility and stop avoiding what is inevitable. What is inevitable? Time, our growth or lack there of, our death and what are we going to do while we are here on this planet? Eventually avoidance can only be resolved by “doing.” One must do for themselves and risk. This concept is very well known and this is not some “aha” statement. How does one actually risk? One MUST recognize their fear, recognize their cycle of avoidance, recognize how their avoidant behavior is not only detrimental to themselves but to others and then look at the fall out. Look at the positive as well as the potential negative side effects of NOT avoiding. Be prepared for both. Success and failure. Then with all you confidence you can muster up, DO IT.

We are experts at deriving excuses, externalizing blame and at avoiding. We must become experts at succeeding, at pushing forward with our healthy wants. Not just for us but to role model to our children. It is this very concept that has the potential to not only better you and your family but literally better your neighborhood and literally our culture. No, it is not grandiose. Think. Close your eyes and ponder your relationship where each do not avoid, there is honest communication with humility. No holding on to false egos, no false pride, but empowerment of each other. That is how we stop avoiding the hidden agendas. Speak up and be ready to admit your own issues without blaming and without a defensive or offensive posture.

I avoided discussing my abuse for  years and years. I decided I had enough of carrying that heavy backpack on my shoulders. I wrote my book, “Above His Shoulders.” I was not a writer but I knew I had to share my story. By risking, by not avoiding I have directly helped myself and I have received positive feedback that it has helped others. Yes, there was some negative fall out. I prepared myself for it. Risking is not without the negative. Embrace the negative, do not be afraid, for that my dear reader will engulf you in a heart beat.

It is important for me to at least address in closing that stopping avoidance of issues does not imply one should be impulsive, but I do recommend spontaneous behavior. We cannot live our life and pretend to be happy if we do not recognize why and how we avoid. Live. Live with your courage but not false pride. Live with honesty to yourself and others. Be clear you know who you are, who you really are for only you will know when you should avoid for healthy reasons and when avoidance is impeding your growth. We are here for a short time, make the most of it.

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