top of page

Avoidance and personal Growth

A few weeks ago, I chatted about habits and the psychology behind the,. Today I wanted to continue more on the side of breaking the bad habits , but also creating new ones that will last a life time.

Now I don’t necessarily want to say that all bad habits are the worst for us. Though life, we need to learn to notice the good ones and bad ones and its good to have to work though and break bad habits to become our best optimal self. Its a funny way to look at it, but I try to surround anything with the most positive aspect to help move forward with a good midst and be more open to the change that excites alongside things we tend to avoid.


Avoid.. Thats a word that makes us feel uncomfortable and it its something we do when it comes to scenarios we don’t want to confront, but is all avoidance good? Should we try to confront and take on? So to stat, I want us to understand what avoidance really is and the meaning of it.

Avoidance is a common coping mechanism that people use to deal with stressful or uncomfortable situations. It involves actively avoiding or minimizing exposure to a situation, object, or person that is associated with negative emotions, thoughts, or memories. While avoidance can be effective in the short-term, it can also have negative long-term consequences, such as limiting personal growth, preventing the resolution of problems, and maintaining a cycle of anxiety or depression.

The psychology behind avoidance is complex and involves several different factors, including cognitive, behavioral, and emotional processes. Below are some of the key psychological mechanisms that contribute to avoidance:

  1. Negative reinforcement: Avoidance can be reinforced by the reduction of negative emotions or anxiety that results from avoiding the source of discomfort. In this way, avoiding a situation can provide temporary relief from distress, which can then reinforce the behavior of avoidance.

  2. Cognitive biases: Avoidance can also be driven by cognitive biases, such as overestimating the likelihood of negative outcomes or catastrophizing the consequences of a particular situation. These biases can lead to a tendency to overestimate the potential risks and underestimate one's ability to cope with challenging situations.

  3. Learned behaviors: Avoidance can be learned through experiences of success or failure in similar situations. For example, if a person has successfully avoided a difficult situation in the past, they may be more likely to use avoidance as a strategy in the future.

  4. Emotional regulation: Avoidance can also be used as a way to regulate emotions, such as anxiety or fear. By avoiding a situation that triggers negative emotions, a person can temporarily avoid experiencing those emotions.

  5. Attachment style: The way a person relates to others can also contribute to avoidance. For example, people with an insecure attachment style may be more likely to avoid situations that involve emotional intimacy or vulnerability.

Avoidance can be a useful coping mechanism in certain situations, but it can also become maladaptive if it is overused or used inappropriately. Understanding the underlying psychology behind avoidance can be helpful in identifying when it is helpful and when it is harmful, and in developing strategies for managing avoidance tendencies.

I mentioned the words ‘maladaptive’ this is often overlooked. It’s something that I continue to work with and something we have to be aware of like when we try to avoid as avoidance is something that is a root to maladaptivity.

Maladaptive behaviors are actions or patterns of behavior that are ineffective or harmful in achieving one's goals, adapting to changing situations, or maintaining healthy relationships. These behaviors can be learned and reinforced over time, and may develop as a coping mechanism for dealing with stressful or difficult situations.

Examples of maladaptive behaviors include avoidance, self-harm, substance abuse, compulsive behaviors, and aggressive or violent behavior.

Overcoming maladaptive behaviors requires a multifaceted approach that involves identifying the underlying causes of the behavior, developing new coping strategies, and learning more adaptive ways of dealing with stress and difficult emotions.

Here are some steps that can be helpful in overcoming maladaptive behaviors:

  1. Identify the behavior: The first step in overcoming a maladaptive behavior is to identify the specific behavior that is causing problems. This may involve keeping a journal or tracking the behavior over time to gain a better understanding of when and why it occurs.

  2. Identify triggers: Once the behavior is identified, it can be helpful to identify the triggers that lead to the behavior. This may involve exploring underlying emotions, thoughts, and beliefs that contribute to the behavior.

  3. Develop new coping strategies: Once triggers are identified, it's important to develop new coping strategies to deal with them. This may involve learning relaxation techniques, developing a support network, or seeking professional help.

  4. Practice new behaviors: Overcoming maladaptive behaviors requires practice and repetition. This may involve gradually replacing the maladaptive behavior with a new, more adaptive behavior and reinforcing positive changes.

  5. Seek professional help: In some cases, overcoming maladaptive behaviors may require professional help. This may involve therapy, medication, or a combination of both.

It's important to remember that overcoming maladaptive behaviors can be a challenging process, and it's important to be patient and kind to oneself throughout the process. By identifying the behavior, understanding the triggers, and developing new coping strategies, it is possible to overcome maladaptive behaviors and achieve a healthier, more fulfilling life.

Now it’s nothing to be afraid of. These words tend to be loaded and seem to have some negativity backing them making us fear them and want to avoid the worlds themselves, but they are apart of the life precess and our actual personal growth.

While avoidance and maladaptive behaviors can have negative consequences, they can also serve a protective function by allowing us to cope with stressful or traumatic experiences. In some cases, avoidance and maladaptive behaviors can be a useful short-term strategy for dealing with overwhelming emotions or situations.

For example, someone who has experienced a traumatic event may initially rely on avoidance as a coping mechanism to avoid triggering memories and emotions associated with the event. This can be helpful in the short term as the person begins to process the trauma and develop more adaptive coping strategies.

Similarly, maladaptive behaviors can serve as a way of regulating difficult emotions or managing stress. For example, someone who engages in compulsive behaviors may be using them as a way of coping with anxiety or stress. While these behaviors may not be effective in the long term, they can serve a temporary function in managing difficult emotions.

However, it's important to note that avoidance and maladaptive behaviors can also have negative consequences, such as limiting personal growth and preventing the resolution of problems. Over time, relying too heavily on these behaviors can become a barrier to personal development and prevent us from fully engaging with the world around us.

This is why awareness of these behaviors are super important as we can really notice them and work with them to become our best self.

It's important to approach avoidance and maladaptive behaviors with compassion and understanding, recognizing that they may have served a protective function at some point in our lives. However, it's also important to work towards developing more adaptive strategies for coping with difficult emotions and situations, as this can help us achieve greater personal growth and well-being in the long term.

In summary, avoidance and maladaptive behaviors can serve a protective function in the short term, but they can also limit personal growth and prevent problem resolution in the long term. By approaching these behaviors with compassion and understanding, we can develop more adaptive coping strategies that promote personal growth and well-being.

Here are some tips for becoming aware of avoidance and overcoming fears:

  1. Identify avoidance behaviors: The first step in overcoming avoidance is to become aware of when and how you are avoiding situations or emotions. This may involve keeping a journal to track your thoughts and behaviors or asking for feedback from trusted friends or family members.

  2. Identify the source of the fear: Once you've identified avoidance behaviors, try to identify the underlying source of the fear. This may involve exploring past experiences, underlying beliefs, or other factors that contribute to the fear.

  3. Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness can be a powerful tool for overcoming avoidance and fear. By focusing on the present moment and your current experience, you can develop greater awareness of your thoughts and emotions and learn to accept them without judgment.

  4. Take small steps: Overcoming avoidance and fear requires taking small steps towards facing the feared situation or emotion. Start with small, manageable steps and gradually increase the difficulty as you become more comfortable.

  5. Seek support: Overcoming avoidance and fear can be a challenging process, and it's important to have a support network in place. This may involve seeking professional help, joining a support group, or talking to a trusted friend or family member.

When it comes to using avoidance and maladaptive behaviors to become our best selves, it's important to approach these behaviors with compassion and understanding. Rather than seeing them as flaws or weaknesses, try to view them as coping strategies that have served a protective function in the past.

To use avoidance and maladaptive behaviors in a more positive way, it's important to first become aware of when and how you are using them. Once you've identified these behaviors, try to understand the underlying emotions and beliefs that contribute to them. From there, you can begin to develop more adaptive strategies for coping with these emotions and situations.

Ultimately, overcoming avoidance and maladaptive behaviors can be a challenging but rewarding process that can lead to greater personal growth and well-being. By approaching these behaviors with compassion and understanding, and taking small, manageable steps towards facing fears, you can become your best self and live a more fulfilling life.

Understanding how our behaviors work can be a deep and complex topic, but it's crucial for personal growth and for helping others. By developing greater awareness of our behaviors, we can learn to identify and overcome avoidance and maladaptive behaviors, and develop more adaptive coping strategies for dealing with difficult situations and emotions.

Through this process of self-discovery and growth, we can not only become the best versions of ourselves, but also help others by modeling healthy behaviors and providing support and encouragement. By developing greater empathy and understanding for ourselves and others, we can build more meaningful relationships and create a more compassionate and connected world.

In short, understanding our behaviors and working through our moments of avoidance and fear is an important step towards personal growth, and can also have a positive impact on the world around us. By taking this journey of self-discovery and growth, we can become better equipped to face life's challenges and to support others on their own journeys towards becoming their best


And with that we hope you have a wonderful week and as always…

Be Kind, Do Fearless

20 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page