Just as a reminder, over these next few weeks I will be inviting you to become more aware of and identify when you are choosing distractions rather than leaning into difficult thoughts or feelings.
Write each question down on your piece of paper, then after careful thought, write down your answer!
1. Do you rely on one difficult feeling?
Is there one feeling that you either have difficulty experiencing or use to express all your unpleasant feelings, no matter what they are for you? This might mean that your reaction to most situations comes out one way – like feeling sad, for instance – even though it is quite likely you are experiencing other feelings.
For others, all reactions show up as anger, even though there are other feelings present besides just anger. When a person consistently allows only one feeling to be expressed, there is a good chance that he or she is having trouble experiencing and expressing the other difficult feelings especially at the opposite end of the continuum.
Do you rely on a default feeling? Which one?
2. Do you only allow feelings to be experienced as anxiety rather than anger, sadness, disappointment, or other unpleasant feelings?
Do you feel anxious? If you are really honest with yourself, you might realize that your anxiety is actually masking other unpleasant feelings. We’ll discuss this further, but, in my experience, I’ve found that it can seem easier to feel anxious than to feel some other unpleasant feeling (like disappointment or anger), especially when that uncomfortable feeling is directed at someone else and needs to be expressed. To be able to experience the genuine feeling that is present at the time you experience it is truly liberating. If you feel anxious a lot, is it possible you may be masking other unpleasant feelings? If so, which ones?
3. Do you question or doubt everything you experience? Do you then get into an endless loop of questioning your questions?
This approach likely leaves you feeling emotionally paralyzed and inhibits you from expressing yourself or from taking action to accomplish goals. Constant questioning and doubt are paralyzing, toxic, and distract from feeling vulnerable. Make a list of some recent questioning loops in which you were entangled or major doubts that still plague you. Choose one of your doubts, then write the feelings that seem to be driving it.
4. Do you feel confused or indecisive?
Being indecisive or claiming confusion are ways to keep from making a decision, especially if making that decision might lead you to believe you made the wrong one or to feel disappointed or embarrassed that the results of your decision didn’t live up to your expectations. Confusion and indecision are distracters. List any decisions you have been putting off because you feel confused or indecisive.
5. Do you feel stuck?
When you start to think about initiating a project or even if you’ve already begun, do you feel stuck? There can be a tendency to pause when you fear being disappointed about the outcome – and then ultimately feel disappointment because you stopped. Or you might feel stuck because you set expectations extraordinarily high. The way out of stagnation is to take action.
Start something. Commit to it and don’t stop. Just keep going. Creating momentum invites more momentum.
What project would you like to complete or what goal would you like to achieve?
What actions will you take to create moment this?
Next week, ‘Identifying-Distractions Exercises Part 3’.
This week’s questions:
How can you use your increasing awareness about distractions in this coming week?
Dr. Joan Rosenberg