How To Identify If You Are Avoiding Difficult Feelings

November 3, 2022

If you’ve ever found yourself running away from your difficult feelings instead of facing them, you’re not alone. Running away from things that make us uncomfortable is something most of us do now and then.

But in our fast-paced, modern lives, it’s easy to fall into the trap of continuously running away from all the things that make us feel anything at all. Avoiding negative feelings isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it can have its benefits; a little bit of stress here and there can actually lead to growth, innovation and productivity. However, when we avoid negative feelings on a regular basis as a way to cope with life, it starts to become unhealthy and even destructive. 

Signs You’re Avoiding Difficult Feelings.

There are tons of signs that you’re avoiding difficult feelings that go beyond just feeling stressed. Here are some of them:

You have a hard time identifying what you’re feeling. 

If you don’t even know what you’re feeling, it’s hard to figure out how to deal with it. 

You feel like you’re “always on the edge.” 

This could mean that you regularly feel like you’re on the verge of a panic attack or an anxiety attack. It could also mean that you’re just constantly stressed out and unable to relax. 

You have bad mood swings. 

This could mean that you have sudden bouts of anger followed by extreme sadness. It could also mean that you have very little emotional variation in your life, allowing you to coast along at a moderate but monotonous level of happiness. 

You have a hard time making decisions. 

Some people who avoid negative feelings make the mistake of thinking that they can never make a “bad” decision. This leads to paralysis and a complete inability to make any decisions at all. 

You struggle to finish things.

This could mean that you never finish your homework or that you find yourself unable to finish projects or jobs at work. 

How escaping makes things worse.

Unfortunately, trying to escape from that sadness or difficult feelings doesn’t actually solve your problem. In fact, it can actually make it worse. Here are some ways that trying to escape from your emotions can lead to long-term problems: 

Escaping makes you feel even more negative emotions later on. 

If you try to escape from your sadness, you’re just going to feel even more sadness later. If you try to escape from your anxiety, you’re just going to feel more anxiety later. Trying to avoid the negative just makes it worse. 

Escaping can lead to other issues in your life. 

If you’re constantly trying to escape from your sadness by watching TV or spending hours online, that means you’re not spending time doing things that might help you with your sadness. 

Escaping can lead to low self-esteem. 

If you’re constantly trying to escape from negative emotions, it makes those emotions seem like they matter less. This can lead to the false belief that emotions like sadness, anger and anxiety don’t matter.

Bottom line

If you’re running away from negative feelings all the time, you’re missing out on a lot. You’re missing out on the chance to understand yourself better, you’re missing out on the chance to grow as a person. You’re also missing out on the chance to have more meaningful relationships with people and the chance to accomplish great things. If you can learn to face negative feelings, you can start enjoying life a lot more and living a much more meaningful life.

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