Avoidance May Bring Comfort But It's Short Lived

In a coaching call this week the coach used her skills to help a participant identify a behaviour they were not aware of. Avoidance. You may have behaviours like avoidance that are deep-seated unconscious patterns. The avoidance issue struck a chord with me and I decided to explore how I use it after the call. It may be something you want to explore as well. 

I reflected on my own avoidance issues over the years. It didn’t take long to identify a few of them. For years I’ve found diversions from starting new and important projects - reading news stories online, swiping through social media posts, checking out dating apps, etc. I rationalized this behaviour as taking time to reflect and consider the project’s content which actually was not true. I was avoiding getting started which created stress around meeting deadlines and the like. 

Another avoidance practice that has wreaked havoc on my finances for decades was avoiding correspondence related to financial matters. When bills, bank statements, or letters from insurance companies arrived I’d simply ignore them. This avoidance resulted in a lack of control of my financial well-being, it affected my credit rating, and wealth planning and left me feeling financially stressed all the time. 

I also avoided honest communication in some of my relationships. Instead, I used passive-aggressive behaviour, and sarcasm or I let relationships coast with no direction. This avoidance resulted in inauthentic relationships. 

And lastly, being a member of spiritual communities for years it’s abundantly clear that avoidance occurs in these spheres when seekers hide behind their spiritual beliefs and practices and avoid uncomfortable issues of life including psychological healing work. This is commonly known as spiritual bypassing. 

In choosing avoidance as a coping mechanism you try to escape difficult situations or individuals that could result in negative consequences or feelings. But avoidance is a false sense of security. It is maladaptive behaviour. The issue or person being avoided persists resulting in incongruence that leads to stress and unhappiness. 

While some of you may not be comfortable with this, truth be told everything in life is a choice. As I near the end of the fifth decade on this planet I’m choosing not to avoid things. I’m actively addressing procrastination, tackling financial avoidance, and engaging in my personal relationships with more integrity.

Regardless of your history, your stories, or your traumas, you have choices to make in how you move forward. For example, choosing to heal from the trauma you experienced will ultimately be rewarding rather than being trapped in the narrative and the pain. Healing work is tough, but it’s worth the effort. 

Because avoidance is a deeply rooted pattern, breaking it may not be easy. But as I’ve come to realize, personal growth is not easy. Many of you will choose to rest in the pain you are familiar with until you know it outweighs the pain of making a positive change. You need not wait. 

Remember, your birthright isn’t to be miserable and trapped in maladaptive behaviours like avoidance. It is to find freedom, fulfilment and joy in this life. 

So what can you do about it? 

Here are tips to help you address avoidance. These tips can be used for other behaviours as well. 

  1. Understand what avoidance behaviour is (do an online search).
  2. Recognize what avoidance behaviour looks like in your life (create a list now).
  3. When you catch yourself in avoidance behaviour acknowledge what you are doing with compassion.
  4. Create an active coping strategy (open the bank statements when they come in rather than putting them aside, for example).
  5. Use techniques that will alleviate stress and shift your mindset (try meditation, affirmations or mantras, or get into nature).
  6. Have a confidant you can share your avoidance challenges with (speaking to your behaviour makes it less scary and your confidant can help you with accountability too).

While not all forms of avoidance are problematic, it’s important you understand that preventing a stressful situation by avoiding an uncomfortable situation or person doesn’t work. The issue or situation is still there and stressful negative energy persists. Therefore, having a strategy to address the issue and your avoidance is important. 

If avoidance is a coping strategy you’d like to break and need some support with, my wellness coaching program may be of use. 

You can book a free discovery call to discuss this or other issues you are dealing with. 

For now, do your avoidance check-in and see if there are areas in your life where you can make some changes.


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