Avoidance. We all do it. Avoid things that we know will set our soul on fire and make us who we are meant to be. We hold ourselves back for various reasons. Too much work, worry of what others think, too much money, worry about being selfish, worry about losing someone/something/ourselves. All these things and more I like to sum up in the category of, avoidance.
I’ll start off by saying I firmly believe our mindset and perspective determines how our lives will go. It’s very basic, yet we make it incredibly difficult on ourselves. It’s all a part of what we are here to become, don’t feel bad or guilty about it! We create our reality regardless of what’s going on in the external world. I struggled with this for a huge chunk of my life. Depression for me was no thought or feeling of any form. It was like watching and listening to people speak a foreign language who were actually speaking my first language, English. I know what it’s like to not feel real or have anything feel real. It’s called depersonalization and derealization in the psychology and psychiatry world. I view these as times when I was protected, a realm I was put into so that I would not die from being overwhelmed. It was a necessary part of my life and as horrifying and terrifying as these experiences were at the time, they brought a lot of wisdom and profound lessons with each experience.
With that very brief summary of how I understand what it means to not feel in control of your thoughts or anything, I will now go into how we still have a great deal of power, even during these times of struggle. Once they pass, you can really make some big shifts. At times, it may be necessary to disconnect for survival. Once you are out of survival mode, I encourage you to start really examining what you may be avoiding.
When I speak of avoidance, I am not necessarily saying states of depression or any other form of illness is an avoidance. I view them as a result of various factors, one of those being avoidance. There are things we may need to go through in order to understand. For me, that meant going though hell and back, four times. A major reason I went through those hellish journeys were due to avoidance of who I was and my inability at the time to recognize what I needed to do in order to begin healing. I see that now and I do not regret anything or any experience I went through. Like I say above, avoidance may be absolutely necessary for survival. Many of us who went through experiences like this are now speaking up and sharing. We’re in a time of great shifts and evolution. More guidance is available to all of humanity. It’s no longer a privilege. We can no longer make excuses. If the desire is there to heal, it will happen. We only hold ourselves back. I’m confident in that belief regardless of what anyone else believes. You get what you tell yourself. A lot of the programming, in the words of Dr. Bruce Lipton, we inherit. Of course it’s difficult to break that pattern. I know it’s possible, though. If you constantly tell yourself you’re miserable, that is what you will get. You tell yourself you’re too busy or are broke, well guess what… It takes time and dedication, but if you want a happy and healthy life, start telling yourself that and creating opportunities to do so. There is no loss in changing your mindset and perspective to one of hope. There is no avoidance by doing so, you will start to see more of what holds you back the more you address your darkness as well as enhance your light! I agree, some positivity can be interpreted as an avoidance. “Oh, everything is great so we ignore our demons!” This is not what changing your mindset promotes. At least not what I promote. It puts a spin on everything in your life so you see it as a blessing and you work from there as things come to the surface. Here’s an example of how I now use my mindset to see the benefit of every situation: Let’s say you’re getting backlash for speaking your truth and someone speaks poorly of you or is just straight up rude. Instead of complaining about how others view you and getting upset about how they don’t understand you, think this to yourself: “Wow, I must really be on to something great if the naysayers are coming out! My personal truth and light must irritate something in themselves. No judgment, just an observation. I hope they will see their own power and ability to accomplish great things by expressing their truth! I hope they shift the energy they use trying to bring others down into building themselves up. Then they can be happy in their own lives!” It allows you to honor the fact that someone has another perspective, it’s OK, and to just carry on doing your own thing. When you first start thinking this way you question yourself. Eventually, with each new shift in thinking and opportunity, it really doesn’t even phase you. Took me about a year to get there after honestly starting a practice of shifting my mindset. That’s my timeline. I was 34 when I truly started practicing this. I’m now 36. I had done some pretty intense healing leading up to the point of shifting my mindset. Each individual has their own timeline. Go at your own pace… without avoiding too much.
Back to some of my own avoidance methods. I avoided feeling grief after my mother passed. I kept myself a star student in school and was very involved in extracurricular activities. I’m proud of my accomplishments, but I often used them as a distraction from addressing the root causes of my pain. I had fear of disappointing my loved ones so I was one of the biggest “goodie goodies” and never got myself into trouble of any form. I was filled with fear of what it would do to myself and my loved ones.
I saw many different doctors and specialists in my young life, hoping to get relief from so many “weird or rare” illnesses. Nothing ever really seemed to help long term. No drug. No therapy. Every treatment may have gotten me through something but it never really healed anything. Again, I will be clear in that I feel medicine and the western approach have a place, however after living in this system for over 20 years I realized it was an avoidance pattern I fell into to avoid the true causes of my problems. I’m grateful for those who helped me through all those times, but it wasn’t until I stepped up for myself that my life majorly shifted. I’m cool with my past and have worked through a lot of the anger I had towards the medical system and my own struggles and losses. Feeling your anger is important. There are many ways to feel it without projecting it on to others. Turning anger into action is one.
When I made the decision to go off of my medications I turned to a more holistic approach. All these methods helped get me through but yet there was still an avoidance factor involved. I tried different diets and natural supplements only to intensify my symptoms. At one point I went to acupuncture four times a week for months to get some relief. These methods helped at times. But again, I was still not truly living my life purpose and I still felt trapped. I was avoiding myself by seeking relief through others.
It wasn’t until I started living for me that I finally broke through. Now this wasn’t easy. Oh, no! It took a good year after being off of all medications before I started feeling what freedom kinda-sorta felt like. I had to tell myself over and over again that I am healthy and happy. I had to condition myself to stop listening to outside opinions. I respect others’ beliefs and methods; however they weren’t what I needed to heal any longer. I had studied the world and various treatment methods for years. My empathy always had me seeing all sides to everything except my own. It was time for ME to listen to ME. I set majorly needed boundaries. I stopped going to people for advice and started taking my own. I still had and have a few trusted teachers who I may check in with from time to time as a form of self-care support. They absolutely support me in being and honoring myself, they encourage me in activating my own healing abilities. Their goal, and mine, is to teach others and empower them to heal themselves. No dependency to continuously keep relying on external sources for healing.
If I had to mark the moment I really began to break out of my shell, I’d say it was when I rapped in public. Ha! I always loved rap and felt almost like I had to hide that because it wasn’t socially acceptable for a white girl to rap. I know now that’s bullshit based on others’ perspectives. Not one damn person is being harmed by me rapping, for crumb’s sake! It’s actually opened a lot of doors for me creatively and brought some pretty awesome people and experiences into my life!
I started going to concerts, eating all the delicious foods. Checking off bucket list items. I started my business. I knew I was ready and no other opinions mattered. By being yourself, you naturally attract who is meant for you. I really started opening up about myself. Started putting my experiences and perspective out into the world. Let me tell you, the opportunities have been incredible. I’m so excited for the rest of my life. None of my progress happened without work and facing what I was avoiding for years.
Avoidance comes in many forms. It’s like putting in new flooring and painting in your house but not addressing the mold issue. Then complaining about the smell, how sick you feel, and how much you spent on fixing up the place but it still smells. People do anything and everything to avoid who they really are or what they need to face. We make ourselves busy working or use our children as excuses to ignore ourselves. We tell ourselves we can sleep when we die. Many of us hide behind our good and generous deeds, give and give and give. All so we can be liked by others and get some false sense of purpose while we tell ourselves we are useless. I know, I’ve done it! We get jobs that help others so that we can focus on the greater good. Former social worker and healthcare worker right here! Of course, it’s good to help others but at what cost to ourselves? I used my job as an avoidance for years too. I always thought, oh, the more I help others the better the world will be! That may very well have some truth to it, but from my perspective I know I’m helping others far more now that I’m grounded in myself. I am able to creatively express my gifts and that is really what we’re all here to do. Heal yourself, heal the world.
So what are you avoiding? I’ll give you a hint. If anything someone else does bothers you or shakes you to your core, it’s probably something you should explore further in yourself. You’re most likely putting up blocks in your life so you won’t address it. It’s OK, we all do it at some point. It’s up to you if you want to continue to avoid it or address it. It’s all on you. Be accountable for you and only you. Heal yourself. Share your story. Let anyone think what they want. My only rule for myself is to be kind to myself and others while speaking my truth and my truth only. Being kind means not everyone will like you or what you say. If you’re secure and grounded in yourself and you honestly know your intentions are good, nothing anyone says can shift you. This is what freedom is to me.
I’m going to emphasize again that avoidance is part of the journey. It’s needed at times. It absolutely serves as a life saving mechanism in some cases. It did for me up until my continued avoidance of my trauma flipped from life saving-coping-mechanism to almost life ending. We tend to only address things when it comes to that point. It’s why you can’t force anyone to do anything unless it’s on their terms. You cannot save anyone but yourself. I repeat, you cannot save anyone but yourself! Many times, we may shift from a drug to healthy eating and exercise. This is wonderful and I support it greatly if it’s what you feel you need to do. Many times, we still feel horrible because we’re avoiding feeling a deeper emotion or not acknowledging trauma. It doesn’t matter how “healthy” you eat or workout if your emotions, mind, and/or spirit is hurting. This was my experience. I had to face all that is myself, light and dark, to get where I am now. It’s not all addressed, I know this. No one has it all together. But I can assure you I’ve freed myself from a great deal of pain, trauma, and illness. I am living my life healthy, happy, and as myself.
If you’d like to get some guidance in facing what you’re avoiding, please bounce on over and check out my website at alwaysBEhealing.com! You can book a session or contact me, Kara through my website!