- Psychological Issues
Activities – such as sports, creative projects, reading, work, TV, meditation – can be a wonderful way to relax, express yourself, or connect to yourself. Or they can be an addiction. How can you know the difference?
Whether or not an activity is an addiction depends upon your INTENT.
Whenever an activity is used as a way to avoid something – painful feelings, difficult or boring tasks – it becomes an addiction. It’s really no different than using substances such alcohol, drugs, or food to avoid painful feelings or challenging tasks. The problem with using addictions to avoid painful feelings is that the feelings don’t actually go away. They are just numbed for the moment but are silently eroding one’s sense of self. We can get away with it only for so long before it shows up in some way – illness, divorce, depression, and so on. And avoiding tasks means that the tasks pile up, eventually causing the very stress we want to avoid. Our society is filled with ways to avoid. Yet it is avoidance that leads to the very feelings we are striving to avoid!
When the intent of an activity is to take loving care of yourself by providing yourself with fun, creativity and expression, relaxation, personal growth, spiritual growth, physical health and well-being, then it is a loving action rather than an addiction. It all depends on your INTENT.
Next time you want to participate in your favorite activity, you might want to notice your intent. Do you want to relax and watch TV or are you avoiding some difficult feeling or task? Do you find yourself scheduling more work than you can really handle to avoid dealing with aloneness, loneliness, or conflict with a mate, or are you really loving your work and feeling fulfilled by it? Are you exercising to support your health or to avoid feelings?
Once you become aware of using an activity to avoid, here’s what you can do about it:
You will find your addictions fading away as you learn to take loving care of yourself.
Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is the best-selling author and co-author of eight books, including “Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By You?”, “Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By My Kids?”, “healing Your Aloneness”, “Inner Bonding”, and “Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By God?” Visit her web site for a FREE Inner Bonding course: http://www.innerbonding.com or mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org