Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Ostrich Effect

We have all seen a cartoon where the ostrich sticks it's head in the sand to avoid seeing what is going on around it. I have a tendency to be an ostrich, to know that something is not right in my life and to avoid dealing with it. If I do not see it, do not think about it, it will go away. This does not work and often in my life has made things worse. It is one of the things that I have tried to work on in the past year and have had some successes. Being willing to be brave and confront the parts of myself I do not like has been hard but it has also been rewarding.

So how do we pull our head out of the sand? What steps can we take?

Acknowledge that we are not perfect: We make mistakes and bad choices in life. Those are as much a part of who we are as the victories we have won. They do not make us a bad person; instead it is how we repair our mistakes that truly show our character.

Accept the consequences of our actions: Sometimes our mistakes incur punishments and penalties. When these are deserved we should not try to avoid them but instead weather them as best we can. This means fulfilling the obligation we have brought upon ourselves with our actions. Once we have recognized the consequences and survived them we can move on and put the experience behind us.

Do something about it: The longer we spend hiding from a problem the worse it gets. If it is money related the bigger the debt grows. If it is emotional the deeper the wound becomes.

Put it behind you: Once we have handled a situation we do not have to put the energy into avoiding it. We do not have to worry and we can get on with living in the now not worrying about what happened then.


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