Daily InspirationYour emotions are a great gift, letting you know when you are on track or off track in your thinking and behavior, or when you need to attend to what is happening with a person or situation. Today, practice learning what your painful emotions are telling you, rather than avoiding them with your various addictions. By Dr. Margaret Paul
Are You Living Your Life or Just Getting It Over With?By Dr. Margaret Paul
April 13, 2015
Do you often try to get a task over with, or even get life over with? Do you have problems staying in the moment and enjoying the process of something, rather than just completing a task?
How often do you find yourself wanting to finish something or to get something over with, rather than being in the moment with whatever is happening? How often does accomplishing the goal seem more important than being in the process? Why is it often more important to complete something than to savor the process, moment by moment?
My client Jacob always has a list of what he needs to do and he feels safe and worthy when he can check things off his list. His list keeps him busy with the next task and the next, leaving him no time to be present in the moment. When I ask Jacob, during a phone session, to go inside and feel what he is feeling in the moment, he tells me that it doesn't feel very good to be inside his body. He doesn't like to be present because he is often in emotional pain.
However, it's a circular problem: ignoring his feelings is causing him the pain of self-abandonment. Avoiding the pain that he is causing by staying in his mind, focused on tasks, then causes more pain and emptiness. Until Jacob is willing to feel the pain of his self-abandonment, he will continue to create this pain with his addictive avoidance behavior.
An acquaintance of mine, Emily, is a talker, especially about herself. Talking keeps Emily from feeling the emptiness that is ever present within. Emily is rarely in the moment, either with herself or with others. She is so busy covering up her feelings with talking that she is unaware of others trying to get in a word edgewise. She is so out of the moment that she is almost completely unaware of the presence of others.
Aiden just can't seem to enjoy anything. Even when he does things he conceptually likes, he doesn't really enjoy them because he is so intent on getting them over with. Coming from a background of child abuse, Aiden learned when he was very young to just think about tasks and getting through the day as a way to survive. Not being in the moment as a child was part of his survival. Now, today, he is still in the habit of avoiding the moment, but now, as an adult, his avoidance actually creates more pain, the pain of self-abandonment.
I, too, used to avoid being in the moment. I had an intense busyness addiction. I didn't want to be in the moment because, whenever I tuned inside, what I felt was loneliness. I learned as a small child to avoid the feelings of loneliness by being very busy and productive, and I received much approval for my productivity. In fact, I was so good at it that I didn't even know I was lonely, and I didn't even know that I was addicted to busyness! Busyness was just one of the ways I had learned to avoid my painful feelings.
After starting to practice Inner Bonding and learning how to manage painful feelings, I finally opened to my loneliness. Whew! It was very intense when I first contacted this feeling. But as time went on and I learned to welcome, embrace, learn from and release this feeling, I learned not to avoid it. As a result, I find myself being more and more in the joy and peace of each moment. For me, life is now something to be lived and savored, moment-by-moment, rather than something to get through or around.
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