Distraction becomes ugly when it takes us away from connecting to ourselves, connecting to others, connection to our environment, and starts to negatively impact our lives.
How Do We Know Distraction is Turning Ugly?
For instance, when is binge watching so bad that it becomes ugly? I believe there are a couple of signs that can help us see when distraction has really become ugly:
When you don’t want to see other people
When you don’t want to go outside
When you don’t want to think for yourself
When suddenly you find you don’t want to do anything but distract yourself.
Ugly Distraction = Distraction Without Growth
When we distract in a good way, we are often growing or readying ourselves to face whatever it is that we feel we must distract from. However, when we distract just to avoid, with no intention of eventually facing the object of our distraction, things get ugly. Things do not go away because we ignore them. They will eventually surface; however, if we ignore them we have no control over when or where they will surface. By facing our issues and inviting ourselves to contemplate our emotions we can create space for them surface. This space is created by us and thus we can decide when to confront and look at the elements of ourselves and/or our experience that we needed to distract from earlier. In this way we are in control of the situation. When we push those elements back and pretend they don’t exist, they come out on their own and they are in control.
What Can You Do?
Are you distracting yourself from a dangerous situation? For instance, is there abuse going on in your home? Are you ill? Are you being sexually exploited? If the situation you are distracting yourself from is dangerous then please, try and remove yourself from the situation and report it. If there is child abuse occurring in your home, you are obligated to report it to the Ministry of Family Services. (604) 660-1548
If you are in immediate danger please call the police (911)
If you are using distraction to avoid feelings or to avoid thinking about something it is important to try and connect with yourself and your community. Having supports are important when you are going through a difficult time, and connecting with others feels good, which can help us with normalizing our situation.
It might be hard to admit, but chances are there is someone else out there that has been through a very similar situation to you or has felt the way that you are feeling. Take a second to write down what is going on, or better yet, tell it to yourself in the mirror. Ask yourself how you would react if a friend or colleague disclosed the situation you are distracting yourself from to you. What would you tell them to let them know they are supported? Now go ahead and tell those things to yourself! This is a great way to practice self-love.
See a Professional!
If you aren’t already seeing a counselor or psychotherapist, it might be a good idea to book an appointment. Having a good psychotherapist can help you connect to yourself in a way that allows for growth, healing, and strengthening of inner power. If you are distracting yourself from something and don’t feel like you can handle it on your own, book an appointment with someone who specializes in helping people handle the ups and downs of life. When you are stuck in school you hire a tutor, or if you can’t seem to get the muscle tone you want you hire a trainer. Counselors and psychotherapists are like the tutors and trainers of the psyche!
Distraction can be good, bad, and ugly. I hope these posts have helped you understand your use of distraction and how it, like any other tool, can be used to help or hinder you on your journey!