by Kevie Simon on Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015
With the holidays at our doorstep, it is easy to become distracted by the to-do lists, holiday parties, and family events. Instead of being a time of reflection and connection, the holiday season often becomes a mountainous checklist of to do’s and events to attend. On top of this, we are inundated with countless Christmas movies about finding the true meaning of the holidays. Ironically, all of them seem to revolve around being with the ones your love, which we are to busy in our real lives to enjoy during this time of year. The holidays are a indeed a busy time, but they are not the only time when we try to avoid situations or emotions.
I often wonder, how much do we unconsciously distract ourselves each day of the year? Distraction is the art of giving our attention to one thing in order to avoid something else. I would argue that we as humans are fantastic at distracting ourselves from the truth. When hurts, wounds, or fears feel to daunting to face, we distract ourselves to keep from addressing them. Those of us who struggle with addiction understand the great lengths to which we will go in order to avoid uncomfortable feelings. At the base of addiction is usually a feeling or past event we don’t want to face, and we will do anything to avoid it – even if that means hurting ourselves or those closest to us. This, in it’s simplest form, is the greatest distraction for an addict.
Addiction is not the only form of distraction that we use to avoid scary feelings or situations. If we look within ourselves behind the distraction, we often find that we seek to avoid a feeling vulnerability and/or a loss of control. Distraction is the smoke screen. Instead of living out of authenticity, we begin to live out of the fear of what will happen if I face it. We distract ourselves from the truth about ourselves, and in turn, we try to distract others from seeing the truth about us. What if instead of distracting ourselves, we found the courage to face our fears? How much would that change our daily lives? How would our self-image shift as well as our relationships with others?
This holiday season, take some time to notice the ways you distract yourself in your every day life. Distracting yourself may look like an addiction or it may look like seemingly normal, every day activities. Maybe, you watch TV instead of connecting with your kids, or you might play video games or search social media to feel connected. The reality of this distraction might be that you are avoiding deep personal connections in your present life. Possibly, you spend an abundant amount of time shopping this month in an attempt to feel in control during this hectic season. Perhaps, you can’t sit in silence because you are afraid of being alone with yourself. I don’t know what this looks like for you, but you can begin noticing the ways in which you avoid connecting with yourself and others.
his holiday season you can start taking steps towards authentic living through practicing authenticity and vulnerability. Just taking the time to notice your distractions is a wonderful starting point in this process. Observing these distractions can offer insight into the emotions or situations you are trying to avoid. Give yourself the gift of growth this holiday season, a gift that lasts for years to come.