A close friend pointed out the other day that I was distracting myself; when I thought I was doing something meaningful, I was actually avoiding that very thing.  Thinking about what she said, I had to agree with her.  Sometimes, though, distractions let me distractionshave a break in the middle of a heavy day.

After taking a good look, I came up with three kinds of distractions that I busy myself with far too often.

Entertainment – like a good movie (well known by that industry), solitaire (mindless and not very satisfying), daydreaming of what I want and would like, reading mystery novels.

Productive – much more subtle because I feel as though I’ve accomplished something, even while not accomplishing something possibly much more important.  These are self improvement classes, crafts, diets and “good” eating, exercising.  It isn’t that these aren’t worthy things to do – it’s when they replace things I’d rather avoid that they are a distraction, such as marketing my work, or assessing someone else’s work.  Even housework looks good then!

And finally, there are the really devious distractions – ones that make me feel as though I am doing something that is meaningful and that make me special, when I’m not really.  What I’m really doing is hiding a very young part of me that is afraid and overwhelmed.

When I am honest with myself, those things that truly give meaning to my life are about relationship with myself, my world and the people I truly care about.

Do you sometimes entertain yourself with distractions?  How do they help and how can they hinder?  What is truly meaningful to you?

Maryanne Nicholls is a Toronto based, certified Psychotherapist offering a balanced approach to mental health. Please visit www.thejoyofliving.co for information on her services, or contact her directly to find out how she can help you reclaim the joy of living.


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