Avoidance and getting out of the rain

You really want to get home.

So you set off on the journey... But suddenly it starts raining. Like REALLY heavy rain.

It's pouring, but you desperately don't want to get soaked. You don't want to have wet clothes, wet shoes to walk in, get cold etc. You hate being wet.

So you hide. You duck under a tree. Wait under a bus stop or maybe you don't even leave the building. But then, shit, you're not going to get home. You're stuck. The rain hasn't stopped, it's got harder if anything, and you just reaffirm to yourself that getting wet is just out of the question. You must avoid it at all costs. So...time to try something else...

You try to pretend it's not raining. But that doesn't work either- you can't bullshit yourself, because your mind knows what you're up to. As soon as a drop of water hits your face you realise that it hasn't worked. You are still getting wet.

You hold a newspaper over your head. It gets saturated and the rain wins. You do everything else possible to avoid getting wet. Nothing works. Other than hiding back where you started. You feel Frustrated. Exhausted. Defeated.

So the journey home is longer. It is slower and sometimes you might not even take it on, because, the goal of not getting wet became the focus. You lost sight of the important stuff, and just want to feel better.

What if it is your relationship with the rain that is the problem. That your unwillingness to experience the discomfort of being wet. Your inability to accept the inevitable sodden shoes and soaked clothing - is half of the struggle.

And instead of spending all your time and energy focused on avoiding getting wet, you could acknowledge that when it rains, you get wet. You could acknowledge that just because something feels bad, doesn't mean that it is something to be avoided at all costs.

And that if it doesn't feel great, acknowledge that it's OK to not feel great. Let it in. Give space for that to be there.

When you can let go of the struggle to stay dry, you can have space to move forward with meaningful progress in the direction of what is important to you. Because life shouldn't be just about staying dry (feeling good all the time).

That rain is your emotions. The weather changes inside your head all the time. Have a think about how willing you have been to get wet.


- Lab-based thought suppression studies suggest avoidance is a paradox, attempts to suppress thoughts will lead to an increase of that thought.

- Studies examining emotional suppression and pain suppression suggest that avoidance is an ineffective strategy in the long-run.

- Exposure-based therapy techniques have been shown to be effective in treating a WIDE range of psychiatric disorders.