Avoidance: An expensive lesson learned.
Recently I was chatting with a professional about the effects of avoiding dealing with emotionally sensitive issues. We all do it. There are those things whether they are doing your taxes, seeing your doctor about an unusual symptom, or apologizing to your partner for something you said. We know we have to do it but we put it off. For me, there are those emails or letters from certain people that, even when I see their name, I avoid opening the letter or the email until “I am ready.”
Such is the case recently when a letter addressed to me was in my mailbox from this person. Before I opened it, I imagined what was in the envelope. I was certain that I not only knew the contents but I knew what my reaction would be. In fact, I was already feeling angry and I hadn’t opened the envelope! I came in the house, tossed the envelope in the bottom drawer and “forgot about it.” I was sharing the story with a professional and he stopped me in the middle of a sentence. He asked, “how long have you had this envelope?” I replied, “two weeks.” He then said, facetiously, “I imagine you never thought about it during that time?”
Of course, the most ridiculous thing was I was burdened with the thought about this envelope and its contents but I didn’t even know what was in it! For two weeks I carried the emotional baggage of an imagination of bad things. My professional advised, rather, admonished that I go home and open the envelope and stop burdening myself with thoughts about what it could be. He added that he wanted me to be aware of every time I was avoiding something and to be conscious of it and why I was doing it.
I went home, pulled the bottom drawer open and summoned the courage to open the envelope. As I reached inside the envelope, I slowly pulled the document out – still certain that there was nothing good in it. I sat the document on the counter, looked at it and laughed for a moment and then I cried. It was a tax receipt that, had I opened it when I received it, would have saved me over $2000.00 in taxes!
So, my avoidance of this mysterious envelope not only caused me stress for two weeks but it cost me over $2000.00! Yes, there is a moral to that story! There is also a painful lesson learned. I can tell you that expensive bit of avoidance has changed my bad habit. Now when I sense I am avoiding an emotional subject or issue, I stop myself and deal with it right now and head on. I cannot afford to avoid things anymore!
So, friends, what are you avoiding?