Not to show up to what? And what does it mean “not to show up”? The what that I’m writing about is just about anything that you avoid. You know: the hard conversations, the person you hope doesn’t see you walk by, the challenge that has been knocking on your doorstep that you are pretending not to see. And the not showing up part? Sometimes this can be quite literal: you simply don’t go, don’t participate. Sometimes it’s less so: you have the conversation but you don’t speak your truth, or, you agree to the challenge but then shortcut the task, yourself and your learning every step of the way.
Do you recognize yourself here at all?
And what do I mean by it hurts not to show up? Draw to mind one of your examples where you have sidestepped, been less than truthful, or simply not shown up. How many of these things did you subsequently experience?
- leftover feelings of inadequacy, guilt, disappointment in yourself
- missed opportunities that you couldn’t see ahead of time
- loss of the relationship or deepening of the chasm between the two of you
- ongoing discomfort because there is more you need to say
Each of these potential impacts from avoidance hurts. Each causes some form of emotional pain and energy drain that can feel like an open wound or a gaping hole that needs filling.
Why do we avoid?
Why don’t we show up the first time?
Many of us run from anything that feels uncomfortable, anything that causes fear. We don’t take the time to breathe into the discomfort and fear and notice what parts are projections or assumptions, then, imagine an outcome that is positive if only we move past these negatives. Each time we avoid, listen to the voice of fear, we limit our options. We wall off another section of life’s opportunities. We shrink.
Yet, each time we head toward the discomfort, move alongside fear, feel uneasy and proceed anyway, we actually stretch and grow our capacity and, as a result, our potential and life’s possibilities.
Start small. Ask yourself:
- What conversation do I need to have?
- What experience could I say yes to with minimal risk?
- What challenge have I been avoiding but could now commit to and ask for help along the way?
Then do it! Be sure to pause afterwards to celebrate your growth before choosing the next small avoidance to greet!