The research tells us that purposely facing what we fear can be very beneficial. On purpose, we seek out these fears, and we respond differently. Thoughts, situations, images, or urges. If we head towards these without avoidance, we continue to teach our brain that we can handle the discomfort.
We know this tennis match in our brain makes it difficult to make decisions at times. Maybe I prefer a get together of 8 people versus 88? Maybe you would rather stay home and watch a movie versus going to a crowded restaurant? Maybe you don’t have any real interest of being on social media for more than 10 minutes a day? Am I avoiding out of fear, or is this really not your interest? Doing our best to find the balance as we accept that we will never get it perfect. This tormenting dance of push and pull. Should I do this? Should I have said that? I made the “wrong” choice! The obvious is, we will Never know if we made the “perfect” decision. Sometimes the situations we avoid cause us stress and worry and so we avoid them in the first place. We all probably know that feeling of crawling in our skin, until we leave early, escape out the back door, then to have that rush of relief pass over us. Is this a situation we care about? Even if we don’t enjoy what we are doing, is it a part of life that we really can’t avoid? Does avoiding it just make things 10 times worse? We know the rituals and avoidance are only temporary relief. We can expect the same thing next time as long as we stay in this avoidance dance. We don’t have a manual that will tell us the perfect choices to make at all times. We want to look at our values and goals and try to see how avoidance may be interfering with these. This could be brushing our teeth or applying for a job. We want to notice if avoidance makes the next situation worse, and what will we be doing to go after what we want in life. Exposure treatment, time with family and friends, school, work, creativity, etc.
It has been my experience, that the less ping pong I play in my brain, the less time I focus on whether I made the right decision or not. I will never know for sure if all my decisions are correct, and neither will you, embracing this reality can help lessen the struggle.
Let’s try to challenge ourselves, let us attempt to be kind to ourselves and others on this journey, as we try to “avoid” the decision dance.
“But it’s not my kind of scene” -My Kind of Scene, Powderfinger