Posts Tagged With: avoidance

Day 372: Learning to re-approach

Today’s blog post is inspired by ….

Image

… a microwave oven. Not that particular microwave oven, which I found through Google Images*, but the microwave oven I just used to heat up something** my son agreed to eat this morning before he left for school.

So why did a microwave oven inspire the title of this post, today?

Because I noticed how I always approach microwave ovens, these days, without fear.

That may seem unremarkable to you, but let me explain.

I have had cardiac pacemakers since I was 10 years old. (As I’ve bragged about before in this blog, I may very well be the longest surviving person in the Wide Wide World with a pacemaker.)*** When microwave ovens first came out (in the 1970’s, I believe)*** they were considered dangerous to people with pacemakers.  Indeed, I remember seeing lots of microwave ovens with warnings for people with pacemakers to STAY AWAY!  “Danger! Danger Danger!” said many microwave-related signs.

Yet, I haven’t thought about that in years, and I approach microwave ovens fearlessly.

Again, that lack of fear may not seem post-worthy, because:

  1. It’s been a long, long time since microwave ovens could possibly cause any danger to me, and
  2. They actually weren’t all that dangerous to me to begin with, despite the hysteria of the signs.

However, I am writing about this, this morning, because of something I’ve been noticing a lot, lately:  people (including me) often avoid re-approaching things that remind them of past dangers, pain, or other negative experiences.

For a lot of us, our internal warning systems can be a little “off.” They might be working too hard, as protection against future hurts.

Here are some things that I’ve witnessed people avoiding, because of past negative experiences:

  • Intimate relationships.
  • Other people, in general.
  • Performing.
  • Particular geographic locations.
  • Traveling, in general.

I stopped that list because  I have to get ready for work.

I do want to tell you this, though: The more I notice my own fears, the more I notice that I can avoid lots of things, simply because of one experience in the past.  Here’s an example of something I’ve caught myself avoiding, lately:

Smiling — after I’ve eaten and before I can check myself in a mirror — just because one person once told me, “You tend to catch food in your teeth.”

That’s embarrassing to admit, for several reasons, but there it is.

Okay, I REALLY have to wrap up this post.

Do I have an image?

Check.

Have I re-approached the title?

Not really, since the title promised the opportunity for learning how to deal with this kind of avoidance.

Here’s the deal, people:  I don’t know the magical answer of how to re-approach something associated with a past negative experience (at least one that I could come up with and write about in a few seconds).

However, I can say this:

  1. Re-approaching old negative stuff in new ways takes practice, and
  2. I have figured out how to do that, for some things, including (a) microwave ovens and (b) smiling, which I’ve been doing more, no matter where or when.

That concludes our post for today.

Thanks to those who avoid, those who approach, and everybody in between.  And, of course, thanks to you for visiting today.


* Here, in a Wikipedia entry on a term I’ve never heard, “Dialectric Heating,” which, apparently is the name for the process used by microwave ovens, which reminds me of one of my favorite words, “dialectic.”  Nobody guaranteed these footnotes were going to be (a) illuminating or (b) interesting, you know.

** Left-over American Chop Suey, if you must know.

*** I didn’t want to put that particular parenthetical information in a footnote, because I know some people don’t read these.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth | Tags: , , , | 29 Comments

Day 190: What I’m avoiding

I may want to avoid writing this post.

But I’m going to “just do it.”

Here are some random thoughts about avoidance, to get me started:

If I’m avoiding something,  there is some fear involved.

It might be fear about an outcome.

It might be fear about hurting somebody else.

Or fear about being hurt, myself.

I might be sullen or angry about something — “I don’t want to do this!”

Sometimes I don’t even know what I’m avoiding.

Avoidance feels a certain way, though.

It feels like this:

My mouth is flat, or turned down.

My brow is furrowed.

My eyes don’t focus.

My thoughts flit around, unwilling to light on anything, like a butterfly trapped in a room filled with lobster sauce.*

(That was, I believe, the first occurrence in this blog of A Deliberate Simile. The first simile after a full six months! And the simile itself was not random; it was well-researched. See here.)

What else do I feel when I’m avoiding?

I feel a pit in my belly.

I think it’s fear, all right.

So I guess I need to ask myself the question, What Am I Afraid Of?

Hmmmmm.

That question isn’t working so well, this morning. (Although sometimes a question like that is really helpful: see here.)

Here’s how I know that’s not the best question, right now. The answer to “What am I afraid of?” is a general one:

Lots of things.

So I’ll try a different question.

What am I avoiding?

Aha!  Better question.

I’m avoiding saying goodbye to a co-worker.

I’m avoiding talking to my son about how scared I am, regarding his recent and sudden illness. (He’s okay, by the way.)

Bingo!

Sometimes I think I should re-name this blog “The Year of Naming Things, So I Can Then Figure Out What To Do.”

I’m not sure, at this point, what I’m going to do about either of these things.

But I’ll quote something I heard yesterday, at work:

It helps to know I have options and choices.  It’s funny how I often forget that.

And, for me, the first step of figuring out my options is this:

To figure out where I am.

Thanks for joining me today, as I figure things out.

______________________________________

* No good pictures of this (“butterfly lobster sauce”) on Google Images.  Oh, well.

Categories: personal growth, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

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