Emotional Exits. You know, as soon you start to get uncomfortable, you wiggle out of the discomfort or at least put those feelings on hold for later? You want to run. You might blame someone else because we all want to run away from the icky stuff. I have been super successful keeping myself overly busy because BUSY has always been my “drug of choice”. Busy is productive, right? Busy means I’m important and needed, right?
Why do I chose BUSY? Truth be told it’s because quiet time is so damn dangerous. Quiet time is when those critical voices amp up and start to attack me. Quiet time is when I feel small and defenseless.
I kept myself so busy that I didn’t have a chance to feel anything; whether or not those feelings were positive or negative. “If I blocked the bad stuff, I sadly missed out on the good stuff too.”
Ms. BUSY became my favorite exit strategy but being the overachiever I am, I perfected a few more methods for outsourcing my discomfort. My number #2 ‘go to’ is a shopping trip. Yep, there’s something about the thrill of a purchase that removes me from feeling sad, lonely, anxious, etc. Whoa Girlfriends, this can be a dangerous habit!!!! If you’re buying stuff, especially stuff you don’t need just to have an endorphin rush, you’ve got a problem. I need to find a healthier substitute. And I will forever block you if you suggest exercise as a replacement! #donttestme
Another seemingly harmless strategy is that I love to escape by sleeping. Now we all need sleep, a good seven to eight hours a night — and I can luxuriate in eight to twelve hours. When I fall into dreamland, my brain shuts off from whatever problems I’m experiencing. It’s nirvana. (Please note that if you start sleeping 10 or 12 hours or even 15 hours a day, you may be depressed or have an underlying medical issue. Please talk to you doctor!)
In the spirit of full disclosure, I’ll share that I also resort to eating too much (especially sugar!) and drinking too much. Easy numbing strategies! I love me some cocktails!
We don’t want to admit to anyone, including ourselves, that we’re feeling lonely or incompetent or sad. It’s scary and there’s often a dangerous stigma attached to being so raw. I know firsthand! Instead, we put on a happy face, right? We pretend that life is full of rainbows and cupcakes.
I ask myself,
If I sit in discomfort, will I get stuck there?
If I sit in discomfort, will I feel even worse?
If I sit in discomfort, it might be true that I’m stupid? Incompetent? ……. not good enough?
Girlfriends, no storm lasts forever. No emotion will last forever either. You can learn to sit in discomfort once you believe in your power to do so. It takes practice — and curiosity!
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