What Are We Really Distracting Ourselves From?

Distraction: A thing that prevents someone from giving full attention to something else; Extreme agitation of the mind or emotions

Think about this word. Is it present in your life? If so, you are not alone. This one word works it’s way into our lives in the most unwelcoming of fashions.

It’s there when we should be studying for that test or finishing that project for work. 

It’s there when we ‘re getting ready for bed or procrastinating our deadlines.

Distraction takes us out of the moment and removes us from showing up, listening, and being engaged in life.

So, when distraction is present, what is it that we are really distracting ourselves from?

Here’s my take: reality.

For many of us, there is something difficult about being present. Something difficult about feeling our emotions and connecting with the here and now.

Society has trained us to look for that quick fix. To be goal oriented and to focus on what’s next.

For many years this was my reality. I was always future focused and chasing anything that would make me feel better or fill that void from within.

Our minds are powerful and can convince us that we need something outside of ourselves to feel better, whole, and complete.

This can come in the form of alcohol, drugs, food, sex, work, gambling, and the list goes on.

We replace what we can ultimately find within with fleeting outside substances and behaviors. Although rationally we may understand this is not a way to a fulfilling life, it can be hard to break those patterns.

So if reality is so hard to live in, what can we do about it?

The good news is that there is a solution. That solution starts with awareness.

Here’s what else that solution entails: being called out, either by another person or by ourself. 

Yes, that can be hard and humbling, but oftentimes being called out snaps us back to reality and connecting with the emotion or feeling that we want to distract ourselves from.

I remember being in treatment for my addictions and my counselor at the time threw me a pillow and she said, “Lauren, this pillow represents your anger.”

For the first time, I was able to take a step back and see my anger for what it was. My anger was (and continues to be) a way to protect myself and not deal with the underlying emotions that are coming up. The most common emotion here is sadness.

My counselor called me out and thus I was able to connect with what was really going on.

We’re all human. This means there will be moments of sadness, frustration, anger, and fear. That is the reality of the situation.

The more we disconnect from reality, the more we are doing a disservice to others and ourselves.

Our purpose here is to find our gift and to continuously give it away. That gift is different and unique for each of us, but if we connect with the truth, it will come out in abundance.

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