Avoidance-Hiatus: Knock It Off and Dance Your Happy Dance

I want, I need, I have to, I can’t, I’ve got to….right before the New Year I hear all sorts of statements that begin with these words. Some are in my own head, which is what propelled me to get back to my long-neglected blog. My apologies, I was on avoidance-hiatus.

Avoidance-hiatus – what an interesting little phenomenon. The more I discuss with my friends, the more I discover that so many of us have been caught up in this trend. Oh, and we don’t like it. So my public service announcement today is to recognize the signs and how to get out of this black hole. You can thank me later.

What is avoidance-hiatus? It is the state in which you start concerning yourself with everyone else and loose site of yourself. Basically you try to fix or focus on everyone around you, improving a relationship, helping mend fences, be accepted etc. that you use these efforts to avoid looking at yourself.

You are avoiding something about yourself and substituting the rest of the world. Here are some examples:

One of my friend’s is in a relationship – she and her beau have had many discussions regarding what each one wants and she continues to adapt her behavior to accommodate his needs; however the 2×4 hit her that she is no longer acting in a manner which is consistent with who she is – big sign there.

One of my friends is an entrepreneur – she is so focused on trying make sure she has all the right answers to grow her business she has lost sight of the tasks that she does that bring her joy. She is so focused on being successful overall that she is loosing the happiness in the everyday accomplishments. Another sign.

One of my friends is fretting about her adult child, worried about what she can do to “help make things right”; her child told her, “it is not your responsibility – it is mine.” Bigger sign.

So for all my friends, myself and any others in this state: Knock it off!

How to get out of this state: first of all allow the thing you have been avoiding to come front and foremost. Acknowledge it, talk through it with yourself, come to grips that it is there.

Second ask yourself a couple of questions. This morning I asked one of my friends two questions:

1. Are you happy – to this she answered “No.”
2. So, as we are in control of our own happiness, what are you going to do about it?

Look, we all need to stop trying to overanalyze things and cut ourselves a little slack. I’ll use myself as an example: it was very easy for me to be down this morning thinking about some of the negative things that are around right now. But three things happened which were the equivalent to the 2×4 popping me in the head.

1. My best friend told me she was surprised that I couldn’t figure something out, she had not known me to be an avoider before. (ouch – but needed).
2. I talked to my son and told him that although there are challenges, if he only focuses on the immediate negatives he will never be able to lift his head to see the ultimate goals which are possible. (that one was a big hit – “easy to tell someone else, but how about you listen yourself” is what my little inside voice said.)
3. I watched my dogs play in the snow and heard myself laughing.

Yeah, there are some crappy things going on right now – so what. Avoiding them isn’t going to make them go away – it just gives them more power to find more pressing ways of getting your attention. Hanging my head and being all weepy will cause me to loose sight of what is really important to me. You cannot walk through a door that is closed, you have to look up and see it in order to open it and move beyond. Duh. And, worse for me yet, I have laughed very little the last couple of days. Oh man, that sucks! I realized that I wasn’t laughing because I was looking at things from other people’s perspective. Well, screw that! Here’s another example. Yeah, I’m full of examples today.

I have five dogs. Yep, five. Crazy – no, if I had to use two hands to count my dogs then you could officially call me the crazy dog lady – but five is still sane. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

When I got the last two (one the same day) my best friend said, “oh my, no man is going to want to come in a house with five dogs!” Okay, then – stay out. Everyone seems to think that it is an overwhelming fact of five dogs. Too much chaos, too much barking, too much – fill in the blank. Bull.

Do you know what my five dogs are doing at this very moment? Sleeping. That’s right, they are all curled up in their favorite places literally snoring. The beasts.

“Oh my goodness, five dogs; how do you take care of them?” Easily and they take care of me.

Yes, they bark. I’m getting them to the point of understanding that sometimes doorbells are only on TV and therefore it is not necessary to bark. We’re getting there. But they bark. Guess what – as a single woman this is a damn good thing. I do not have to worry about anyone breaking in to my house because at least a couple of them would tear them apart. The others would probably show them the good stuff after they get a treat. They are my protectors. I never wake in the middle of the night to worry about a strange noise – if something wakes me up I open my eyes to see the pack up, alert and standing in protect mode around me. You can’t replace that. And for the comment about a man – a real man would appreciate the fact that a woman is kept safe. So there.

And they make me laugh. They each have their own personality, likes, dislikes and quirks. It is a dog family – deal with it. But when I come home – I am home. I can fix a meal and eat it in peace with limited doggie stares – we don’t do table scraps. I curl up in my favorite reading place and instantly have a few snuggled up around me which makes that spot even more comfortable. When I am in the mood to dance it out I blare my music and they jump around and play – they dance it out too. When I’m in a mood, they instinctively know and lay quietly all around me so I know I am not alone.

So, long example made short, I have two options about this dog issue: I could apologize and minimize it because so many people think it is such a big issue OR I can appreciate these wonderful little beasts and love having them in my life and not give a damn what anyone else thinks. That is what I choose to do. Love me, love my dogs. Ok, love me get over the fact that I have a pack of dogs.

Stop apologizing for what others think, do your thing, love yourself, laugh at yourself right now, give yourself a break right now, realize there is a greater path for yourself and you will not follow it if your head is down or you are too worried about what anyone else thinks or while you are trying to solve their ills.

My problems from this morning seem pretty insignificant right now. Those people that I love, that I have been using in my avoidance-hiatus, I still love them and want them to have all the happiness, joy and love that they deserve and desire. Now it is up to them to decide if they want it for themselves. Now is the time for you to decide if you want it for yourself. If they and you choose to then I’ll be right there doing the happy dance with all of you. In the meantime, I’ll be doing my own little happy dance, thank you very much! I just hope I don’t step on a dog in the process.

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Career Coach-Strategist
Certified Professional Resume Writer
Career Polish, Inc.

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