Episode 77: What Are You Avoiding?

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Episode Summary

Our brains would love us to stay the same and the thoughts our brain gives us are designed to do just that—keep us safe, maintain the status quo, and ensure our survival.  And even though our brains have a good reason for thinking the way they think, most of the time these thoughts are keeping us stuck and sabotaging our best efforts for change.  

The problem is that while your brain is well-intentioned, it is also totally confused about your purposes for being on earth.  You are here for more than just survival.  You are here for creation and growth and contribution and increase, and the only thing in the way of that is the thoughts offered to you by your brain.  What you brain thinks is “safe,” is really just sabotage.

In this episode, I break down actionable steps you can take to expose your brain’s avoidance tactics so you can get unstuck, stop sabotaging yourself, and get the most out of your awesome life.

Episode Tools and Questions

If you want to download a free worksheet with questions and prompts from this episode, please click here.

Our brains number one job is to ensure our survival and it does this best by maintaining the status quo as much as possible.  Our brains don’t like change and, in an effort to keep us safe, they end up keeping us stuck.

Wherever you find yourself not taking action or not getting the results you want in your life, it is likely that your brain is employing a subtle sabotage strategy to keep you not taking action.  

Your Brain Creates Negative Feelings to Avoid Something “Worse”

When we set out to do something new or create something new in our lives, our brain tries to stop us.  To keep us stuck our brain gives us thoughts (that seem like facts) that produce negative emotion.  Often these thoughts create confusion, overwhelm, anxiety, fear, or self-doubt.  

But these negative emotions produced by the thoughts in our brain, are just the brain’s way of avoiding something “worse.”  No matter how bad we feel, our brain thinks this would be preferable to some other “worse” experience that would likely lead to our death.

Notice that none of these feelings—confusion, inadequacy, overwhelm, fear, or any other emotion your thought is producing—feel good.  We don’t love any of them.  But our brain has offered them to us because, as bad as they feel, your brain prefers this feeling and the “safety” it provides, to moving forward and taking action and facing whatever danger that might create for you.  

The answer to getting unstuck and moving forward is a willingness to feel the negative emotion our brans were trying to avoid.  Now maybe that doesn’t sound too awesome to you right now but remember that you’re your brain tries to avoid an emotion, we end up getting stuck, and in most cases, we end up feeling the emotion our brain was trying to avoid anyway.

Reframe Your Inaction

This is a really powerful way to reframe your inaction.  Sometimes when we don’t work towards the things we want, we blame it on a lack of discipline, or a lack of consistency, or our schedules.   Sometimes we blame it on all our obligations or responsibilities, or we tell ourselves that we’re just not the kind of people who keep commitments to ourselves.  

But the real reason that we don’t take the action we want is that our brain has offered us thoughts that produce feelings that keep us from taking action.  Our brain prefers life with no risk and no danger and no failure, and so it offers us thoughts that it thinks will be useful in keeping us alive—not thoughts that will be useful in creating an amazing life.

Your brain is protesting because you are taking action—action that could lead to pain and negative emotion, action that takes energy, action that is harder than not taking action.

Let the Highest Part of You Have a Say

We get used to letting our brain do all the talking.  But what does your inner wisdom have to tell you?  Allow the part of you that knows you are an eternal being with unlimited potential have a say.  What does that part of you know is true?  What does that part of you know is possible?  

Don’t be distracted by the thoughts of your brain.  What feels like “safe” is really just sabotage keeping us from all the things we really want to be doing and creating in our lives.

Remember that the only thing keeping us stuck, sabotaging our progress and preventing us from creating what we really want is our brain’s misguided attempts to avoid another feeling….something that the brain thinks would be worse in some way.  

What are you avoiding feeling by not taking action?  The more willing you are to feel that emotion, the more you are going to get the life you really want.

Episode Notes

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What Am I Avoiding Worksheet – download a worksheet with questions and prompts from this episode

Luke 15:17


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