The tendency to avoid is part of our human nature. When we are experiencing a challenge in our lives that come with tough emotions, we may lean into trying to sidestep them altogether. Avoidance can come in many forms including shutting ourselves off from our feelings, throwing ourselves into work, isolating ourselves from others; it may result in using external means to soothe, such as overeating or having that extra glass of wine. In any case, you may have gotten temporary relief from the feeling, but the issue has not go away; the emotion needs to be processed in order to experience resolution, acceptance and growth.
But what happens when the feeling becomes overwhelming? Or it is not a convenient time in that moment to have the emotion? Or the process is just going to take a long time? That is when the concept of healthy escape comes into play. Healthy escapes are planned and they can range from taking a time-out from the immediate situation, to engaging in a distraction activity, to an intentional outing; even a planned holiday constitutes a healthy escape.
Challenges in our lives and the tough emotions that naturally accompany them are inevitable but there is a big difference between running away and a healthy escape; one leans into avoidance and the other, into process. When we are consciously aware of the choice, we lean into our sense of agency, creating resilience and strength.
Photo credit: http://Photo by Simon Rae on Unsplash
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