The Face Everything Technique and Why You Can’t Avoid Difficulties

We are all great at avoiding things. Our minds are less “thinking machines” than they are “avoid machines.” And surprisingly, we usually don’t even realize that we are avoiding thinking about something.

This post was originally published on the Zen Habits site .

Here are some examples:

  • You are reading this article right now, but you are probably avoiding the difficult things that you don’t want to think about.
  • We constantly check messages, news, news feeds, notifications … to avoid doing things that we don’t want to face.
  • When we are faced with difficulties in life, we try to tell ourselves that everything is okay because (fill in the field) or we are engaged in an activity or pain reliever (such as alcohol) so that we do not have to face difficulties.
  • When a problem arises, our reaction is to want to do something else, to postpone it.
  • We delay paying bills, paying taxes, dealing with long emails, clearing up clutter because we don’t want to face these difficulties.
  • We put off exercise because it’s uncomfortable.

In fact, every day there are thousands of new examples that we don’t even notice because our mind switches to thinking about something else. Try it now: pause for a minute and think about the difficulties you are avoiding thinking right now.

You will either notice difficulties that you do not like, or your mind will quickly switch to something else before the minute is up.

What you have done is part of what I call the “Face Everything” technique, which I will explain in a minute after we talk about why avoiding everything is an ineffective strategy.

Avoidance doesn’t work

Our mind wants to escape any discomfort, pain, and difficulty we face, and this is a good strategy to temporarily avoid dealing with difficulties and pain. So at the moment we can feel temporary relief.

But what he does is reduce us to a run. Life is distracted and never face what worries us. We are constantly busy, but we never learn to cope with what is inside of us, with what is in front of us.

This means that we are at the mercy of our fears and inconveniences. We are like little kids who don’t want to do hard work, but want things that are fresh, colorful and fun.

As a result, you are not working on important work (or at least putting it off until it becomes painful). It’s the same with exercise, healthy eating, finances, clutter, relationships, and more.

In the end, we usually have to deal with these things, but it only got worse. It would be best to meet them early on when they weren’t such a big deal.

Face Everything Technique

This method is based on the idea that it is better to be aware of things and handle them like an adult rather than running. And if we do this, there is nothing wrong with that.

This is how it works:

  1. Raise awareness by asking, “What am I doing now?” During the day, set reminders or leave small notes to remind you to ask, “What am I doing now?” The answer might be “Checking Facebook”, “Going to a new browser tab” or “Got chips.” Something so simple and down to earth, but just ask yourself what you are doing to start awareness.
  2. Then ask yourself, “What am I avoiding?” When something becomes difficult or uncomfortable, we automatically switch to something else. We are running. We avoid like crazy. You do it all day, but you are not aware of it. Ask what are you avoiding: fear, a difficult task, difficult emotions, discomfort, or just being in the moment? Name what you are avoiding.
  3. Now let’s face it . Just stay with this fear, discomfort, difficulty in the present moment. Not your story about it, which you tell yourself in your head, but a real physical sensation in your body at the moment. How bad is it? You will find that there is nothing special about it. Stay with him a little longer. And a little more after that – challenge yourself.
  4. Take appropriate action . Now that you’re faced with this and realize that it’s not such a big problem, you can behave like an adult, not like a small child: you can decide what is best to act now. If you are afraid to complete a task, but are faced with it and see that the fear is not so great, you can remind yourself that the task will benefit you and others, and it is much more important than your little fear. … If you avoid a difficult conversation with someone because you are angry, you can see that anger and resentment do not matter, and you can talk to that person calmly and appropriately, with empathy and compassion, and understand the solution. …

Of course, not all problems will just go away with this method, but I can tell you that you will be able to face a lot more things when you practice this method. You will learn to better deal with discomfort instead of running away from it like most people do. You will learn not to procrastinate and perform awkward tasks. You will be more present and more willing to stay in the moment instead of being distracted all the time. Not overnight, but with practice.

You may be tempted to close this article so as not to practice this technique. This is avoidance, too, and I urge you to acknowledge that right now.

Face Everything Technique: Why You Can’t Deal With Difficulties | Zen habits


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