Well…it’s good to be back after taking a bit of a break for Christmas. I have some exciting news (no I’m not pregnant) – the boyf proposed on Christmas morning (yay) but I’ll have to talk about that some more another time! I promise!
This time of year often brings a lot of introspection. We’re moving from one year into a new one, a fresh year and we’re likely to reflect on the year that’s gone by, the highs, the lows, and any changes that we know we should make but haven’t yet. What can be particularly tough is realising that something hasn’t changed from one year to the next or that when you do the maths on the year, you may have spent more time being unhappy/frustrated with something than you’ve actually spent living and enjoying. One thing I recognise from my own experiences is that focus is key and that distraction can be a major obstacle not only to that focus but actually getting closer to doing and experiencing the necessary action.
I’ve often spoken about relationship insanity which is carrying the same baggage, beliefs, and behaviours, choosing the same people different package and then expecting different results. That same insanity can be applied to work, or really any aspect of your life where you repeat a pattern but still end up wondering why a different outcome isn’t resulting.
Clearly in spite of often knowing exactly what it is that we need to do to bring about a different, better, more positive outcome, we still persist in throwing ourselves in the front line of pain.
How and why do we do this?
We distract ourselves and it’s because aside from focusing on something that appears to be less painful or uncomfortable, it can also ‘protect’ us from experiencing feelings that we’re working very hard to avoid.
Want to know a key reason why we go back to people who create pain for us and/or have rejected us?
Because it distracts us from having to feel whatever we’re trying to avoid – rejection, abandonment, pain, loneliness and the list goes on. Rejection is a primary fear and for those of you who have chased after someone after you’ve broken up or have even broken No Contact, it’s because accepting or making successful contact, even if it’s short-term, stems that annoying, pervasive feeling of rejection that we don’t want hanging around for too long, plus just working your way through the pain of losing the relationship or the love you thought you had or would have is pretty difficult, albeit necessary in itself. Of course what can then happen after you seek out the source of your pain is that you end up having a sense of self-loathing when you see the situation for what it is or even experience more rejection and have to grieve the loss of the relationship again, so you try to go back to them or even try to date someone else, or spend your time online collecting attention on dating sites.
Another common distraction is Other People’s Problems. It’s easier to absorb yourself in someone’s shortcomings, the changes you think they need to achieve to benefit themselves/your relationship, or all the ‘wrong’s you think that have created the demise of the relationship and the ability for your love to be properly received.
But really, focusing on fixing/healing/helping or even playing armchair psychologist and ‘diagnosing’ them is a distraction from you.
When we persist in uncomfortable or downright painful situations with people who cannot or will not love or treat you with respect, you distract yourself by pursuing answers to the wrong questions:
Why won’t they change?
Why don’t they want/love me?
Why do they behave in this way?
Why do they choose him/her?
How can I get them to be and do what I want/need?
These are all interesting and some are even, to an extent, valid questions for shedding light on you but the majority of your time and effort should be spent answering this question:
Why, if someone is behaving in this manner are you still there putting up with it or claiming that you’ll never get over them?
If you’re not focusing the bulk of your efforts answering this question and taking appropriate action, you are distracted with looking for solutions in things and people that are out of your control. Your mentality and physical effort (that’s if you’re taking any action) are distracted.
Looking at it in a wider sense, when I want to dodge getting uncomfortable with work stuff, maybe out of confidence issues, I’ll immerse myself in numerous less important tasks, or get caught up in sorting out stuff in the house, or throw myself into getting distracted with the girls. I know this now after going through the pains of work insanity and have had to get really uncomfortable so that I can focus instead of distancing myself from whatever anxiety I’m feeling.
There is a pattern to your distraction and if you want to experience change in 2011 and beyond, or actually even in the last day of the year, it’s quitting the insanity of repeatedly thinking and doing the same stuff and not letting yourself get distracted. It’s pretty exhausting work trying to avoid yourself or the changes you need to make and it’s time to recognise why it’s important to feel what you’ve gotta feel and start doing what you’ve gotta do – avoidance is a key part of being emotionally unavailable and if you’re serious about being personally happy and even getting into a healthy, loving relationship, getting in touch with you and feeling whatever you feel, good, bad, or indifferent is pivotal to being emotionally available.
Tackle and eliminate your distractions by having a honest conversation with yourself, getting familiar with your pattern and more importantly, not giving in to the impulse, the habit to do what you normally do. You can spend all the time in the world being distracted by their problems or immersing yourself in stuff that kills time or makes it easier for you to blame your lack of action on. You’ll still eventually need to take the focus off them or bring it back to you.
Image Credit: Jenny Rollo