What’s Distracting You From Pursuing Your Growth?
If you made a list right now of all the things on your mind — how many of those could be in a single bucket labeled “distractions”? This isn’t to say that they aren’t important in their own right, but lately I’ve been asking myself to think more critically about the mountains I place in my own way when I’m choosing to write.
When I sit down for a brainstorming session at a coffee shop I can count on a few minutes in needing to check my phone, thinking of another project I should be working on, or choosing to do anything but the task at hand.
I’ve come to realize that distractions are just tangible placeholders for fear. The more you make it a habit of allowing them in your life and in your mind, the easier it is to collect them like coasters you’re never going to use but still have twenty of.
Those distractions can be people or they can be things, but their purpose in your life is exactly the same — to help you avoid doing the hard work that would lead to the next iteration of your own growth.
I was a collector of people in my early twenties. I placed my trust in many and never considered how or why I was so easy to give — it took a lot of heartbreak to realize that it was because I was trying to turn my eyes away from how hard it was for me to take. I wasn’t good at asking others to be there for me and having people in my life whose emotional runway wouldn’t have allowed for it anyway made it feel like it was way more their problem than my own. But here’s the thing about distractions that can be lost in the haze — you choose them. You choose the ones that cater to the growth spurts you don’t want to prompt or the work unpacking your truths you just don’t want to do.
At that time, I didn’t have the right tools to trust others with taking care of me the way I had learned to take care of them. My emotional runway was short and required a lot of work to get me to the point where the people in my life are people who challenge my growth while still honoring my worth. Those people exist and those habits can be formed, but it requires pursuing your own growth in a healthy way.
For me, that included journaling a lot about what I was looking for in relationships, what I actually needed from relationships, and what I was attracting. It also included a lot of therapy and being professionally guided to challenge my own thoughts and beliefs about myself. Being a collector of distractions had become a habit and while hindsight is 20-20, it’s also the best way to spot patterns you want to disrupt.
Now the distractions are less in people and more in things, but the patterns of placing them right in front of me are eerily similar. I can sit down to write and then mentally jot down a long list of other things that I should be doing instead or that I will be doing next. I’m learning that the practice of being present is the best defense against caving in to distractions.
Reminding yourself you feel worthy of the goal on the other end of the process really helps too. So much of our growth feels dependent on whether we read the next best self-help book or listen to the right podcast, but the truth is that the process of growing won’t result from a single act. The process of growing will come from constantly choosing to not give in to the distractions and choosing to replace them with positive actions or positive people instead.