What are you trying to ignore?

4 Jul

This article is part of a series “31 blogs in 31 days” during July 2017 on howtofab.com.

Whether in business or in our private lives, ignorance is everywhere. And no, I don’t mean ignorance as “lack of knowledge”, but as an “attempt to suppress, to forget about, to fade out, to hide something” – from others and from ourselves.

It usually takes about 25 minutes, during a first conversation with a new client in my life coaching / psychotherapy practice, before I hear “Ah, that’s not important” or “No, no, no – we don’t need to talk about that” or “Yeah but, I am totally fine with that, really”, while the body language screams the total opposite. The discrepancy between verbal and body language can be quite subtle, which then sometimes tells me that the person has cultivated that opinion / behaviour for a while, or it can be as obvious as a smack in the face, which often means it’s either too urgent or too important or both to even want to be covered up properly.

Interestingly, sometimes people come to me pointing me directly to one or two things that they consider the key to their problem – after all, they have given it enough thought and drawn the conclusion that the problem must be rooted here or there. So the wish to get to the source, the willingness to uncover something is there. But at the same time, there can be quite a lot of resistance when it comes to uncovering something different, new and unprepared. Something surprising even.

Same in business. The things we don’t want to talk about are usually the things we have to talk about. Because, simplistically speaking, if there was’t a problem, we could easily talk about it. Following the path of reluctance and resistance usually leads to the source of something rather revealing. The source of one or many problems. As an outsider, it’s usually much easier to spot those paths. You may want to, but you don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to find one or two clues. As an insider, we are usually part of the narrative, part of the problem, and whether we are aware of it or not, also part of the resistance.

Now, we are all human beings and the fact that we are trying to avoid something isn’t necessarily because we are evil people – but often because we are scared of this route leading us to where it hurts, where there are unanswered questions or where we can already guess some difficult answers that will lead to some degree of pain or us losing face.

Fear is one of the most powerful drivers of our thoughts, feelings and actions. I would even go as far as to say it is THE main driver. Fear, in its many incarnations, is very human, normal and usually totally understandable. It carries important messages for us and as such is not only a bad thing. However, if it keeps us from doing the right things, from having the difficult conversations, from asking the difficult questions, it keeps us, and others, from progressing and from living a truthful life.

Almost paradoxical is the fact that we all know the things we are trying to run away from. We may have some success in convincing others that xyz is “over”, “done” and “dealt with”, but if there is one person we can not lie to it’s ourselves. Even after years of practice, we usually know what’s right for us and what’s not and when our own words give us a punch in our own stomach.

Yes, there is wishful thinking that “one day, the situation will get better” and yes, it’s right to be hopeful – where would we be without hope? But even if things get better eventually, right here and now, we know if we are speaking the truth or not. And for how long we have been diverting from it.

Those things we are trying to run away from, those lies that live within our hearts – they all come and find us at some point. Not every moment is the right moment to deal with a conflict. Today may not be the right day to have that conversation, but eventually, if we want to live in congruence with our needs, wants, wishes, desires – if we want to tackle the problems that are keeping our relationships or our business from being successful, if we want to be truthful to ourselves and to others, we need to have it.

So, what are you trying to ignore?

Picture: Aitoff via Pixabay / CC0.

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