The Art of Avoidance
by Myriam Maytorena
Are you faced with an overwhelming sense of pressure? Does the world seem to be giving
you to many darn lemons? And, are you tired of making lemonade? Perhaps it is time to
develop a new coping skill – The Art of Avoidance.
So often we hear the words, handle things now or they will just get more intense. That is
basically a lie. Most issues or problems have a way of solving themselves in time without
our intervention. And as my Mother used to say: “A hundred years it won’t matter.” In fact,
most things won’t matter in a week, or a year, or in ten years. It is just our desire to have
a sense of control in the midst of chaos that drives us to try and take charge of everything
from the coffee making in the morning to getting the bills paid on yime. While many day-to-day
things require our attention, the ones that we don’t have the resources to handle or the ones
that just keep nagging on our heads with no possible resolution do nothing but create stress
and discomfort. I am not one for ignoring the elephant in the living room and pretending it
doesn’t exist as they describe in Alcoholics Anonymous.
In fact, I think it is important to face the dysfunctionality in our personal lives and to create a
sense of healing in our lives. However, if one is going over and over a problem or issue
without the desire to make changes, one might as well forget about it .
To avoid an issue until one has time to effectively deal with, is not a bad thing. In fact, it is a
delay tactic to use until you have the resources to make the habit to changes on needs to
improve one’s life. Also, when one chooses to evoke the Art of Avoidance, it is important to
realize .It is a delay tactic and not a permanent solution.The Art of Avoidance empowers you
to make some important choices.
Remember that not to make a decision IS a decision. When you get down to the underlying
issues in problems, there is usually a situation that involves either assertiveness or setting
boundaries. Many of the stressors in life have to do with not being able or being afraid to say NO.
Not being able to make a choice that requires saying NO to someone we care about sets up
a sense of inner dissonance. For example, a spouse is spending too much money and you feel
financially threatened. Usually it means that the conflict lies between being a “good” person and
giving to one whom we love and the reality of financial responsibility.
Or sometimes we have gotten ourselves into debt and don’t have the money that is needed to
pay our bills. Then the conflict comes from feeling bad about our past actions and not knowing
how to solve the issue. When too many conflicts and responsibilities begin to crash in on us we
have to make some choices as to which ones we will attend to first. Also, we have to realize those
issues that we don’t know how to solve and to seek out professional advice or counsel in order
to get things back in balance and in order.However, once we have prioritized what needs to be
addressed first, second, third and so forth, to continue to worry about it don’t help anyone and can
definitely harm us by creating unhealthy stress and depression.
Learning the Art of Avoidance, means to learn to think in a more rationale and self-empowering
manner. The first step is giving up that useless and harmful emotion called guilt.The only function
of guilt is to control behaviors. It is usually created by our culture,our society and largely by our
family and friends. We react when our “buttons” are pushed. As a dear friend once said:
“Family is great at pushing our buttons. They installed them.” Thus, to get into a state of equilibrium
and balance one needs to become aware of the “buttons” and remain vigilant so that our responses
are based upon reality and not learned behaviors.
You can usually tell a button is being pushed when you hear someone in your environment,
including you, using the word: “Should.” You might try this little exercise in self-empowerment and
If you meant to do something and it has negative consequences, and you think that you “should”
have done something different, then the next time when you are in the same situation, change
your responses and your behaviors
If you are in a situation, and an accidental response creates a negative result, then just choose not
to allow yourself to respond in the same way the next time.
If you mean to do something that is perceived with a negative result and you meant to do it, don’t
waste time being a wimp and saying that you didn’t mean to do it.
In other words, if you lie to your Mother to keep from hurting her feelings in order to not go out
to lunch with her, suck it up and don’t use that phony “should” in processing the information.
The biggest skill in using the Art of Avoidance, is to eliminate to the best of your ability negative
or toxic people or situations from your life. If you belong to groups,
organizations, or even a job
that is constantly creating stress and discomfort for you, create a strategy to change the situation.
The job is too much, then print out that resume and look for another one but make sure that you
are looking for work that will allow you to avoid the situations or types of people that create discomfort.
If you have been friends with someone for a long time, but they constantly make you feel used or
unhappy, avoid them.
If you belong to an internet group and there is a person on the list that just pushes your buttons, then
put a block on their email address in your email program or resign from the list.
If you belong to an organization that seems to be too demanding of your time or the folks do not
respect your limits, then either learn to say no or walk away.
If your spouse drives you nuts or your kids,you might find it harder to avoid them, but you might
want to seek counseling so that you don’t feel like a victim.
Sometimes the greatest Art of Avoidance is to just walk away from situations and people.
At the root of the Art of Avoidance, is to avoid not being gentle or kind with YOU.
There is only one person in this world who can make decisions for you and enable you to have
a contented and healthy life and that is YOU. Don’t give up your power to other people.
Grab it back and avoid those people who try to dis-empower you.When you use the Art of Avoidance
to navigate your life realizing that it is often a temporary situation, eventually you will find that you
are more energized, happy and content and that you will become less filled with guilt, anger and hurt.
Today, begin to make the life you desire.One that is authentic, transparent and affirms your evolving
spirituality. If someone tries to stop you, just avoid them.
Authors Bio: Myriam Maytorena, M.ED..
Is a counselor, writer, and an astrologer and spiritual coach. You may meet Myriam on line at
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