A Coaching Power Tool Created by Natalia Pinkowska
(Yoga Life Coach, POLAND)
Life is all about self-transformation, which can be more or less conscious and visible. While you are getting older, you are going through different stages. In each of them, you are changing in your physical, mental, and spiritual body. Most of the time, the change comes and passes with ease. You might even not realize that it has happened. There are other times where you stop during moments of awareness. You start to ask yourself all these questions about your purpose. What makes me happy? What is the sense in all my actions? Who am I? And, who I wish to be? During these moments, you have two choices. The first is to avoid the questions by keeping the inner voice of your curiosity quiet. This will result in an unconscious state of mind until these questions arise again. And the second is to confront all your thoughts and feelings. Go deeper and meet yourself in the truth. The decision which you choose will reflect on your future path. That’s why it is so important to acknowledge the significance standing behind these two states for yourself – confrontation vs avoidance.
What is worth to underline here, is that this power tool refers to one’s inner work. In my eyes, it’s the starting point. This is the most important part when people consider any situation of change and life alignment. By going back to the core. The first source of wisdom. The inner potential. The origin of which people are so often disconnected from.
According to the dictionary, when you are avoiding, you are staying away or preventing something from happening. It could also mean that you are holding yourself back from doing something. In this particular case, this obstacle is directed to ourselves. We are more or less consciously avoiding facing what is within us. It’s essential to realize the difference between a conscious and a subconscious decision.
When people are subconsciously overlooking a situation, it might be connected to a psychological defense mechanism. They simply might not be ready to confront the truth about themselves. Life is a journey, and we can’t take it all in at one time. However, when you are avoiding something with at least a hint of a conscious decision behind, the trouble starts. It means that you recognize in yourself a need, an issue, a feeling, or a thought to question. Instead of searching deeper towards your path, you prefer to remain in your comfort zone. You are holding on to an illusion of knowledge that belongs to your past. This choice is keeping you back from growing, which initially might not be an easy task to do but might eventually lead to a better life. Furthermore, the denial of avoiding a situation is often observed. More or less consciously, people are choosing – metaphorically speaking – to look in the other direction. Another view of avoidance is blindness. You look at the problem – it’s right there in front of you – but you don’t see it. In both cases, “avoiding” means that you are pretending that the challenge doesn’t exist.
The consequences of avoidance to one’s self
It all depends – the psychologist would say – however highly possible is that the result of escaping from yourself will be connected to frustration. People who are ignoring their inner voice may look happy on the outside. Still, the question is if their lives are bringing them satisfaction and fulfillment? Avoidance, as well as remaining for a long time in our comfort zone, brings a decrease in progress.
Signals of avoidance to one’s self
Avoidance can occur in the projection of your feelings or thoughts to others. You see that everyone has the same problem beside yourself. You even might try to convince them that they have the issue. Another, even more visible, is a state of constant blame put on others for your problems. You can recognize the issue, but the cause of it is not in you. It belongs to someone else.
And what to do if you recognize that you are avoiding? Well, there are always two options – one is to keep the avoidance and stay in your comfort zone. The other is to work on it. The best way to begin with, when you see symptoms of avoidance in you, is to observe and be mindful about it. The next step is to face your feelings and thoughts – confront yourself.
Confrontation is most cases is connected with externality – not within yourself. However, when you perceive yourself as a unique and independent unit that is not defined by your feelings and thoughts, these might be confronted since they are not a part of your core. This is what I call theSELF-confrontation and is the main domain of this power tool.
What do you need to know before?
Confrontation with yourself is the first and significant step towards building self-awareness. By facing yourself, you will step on the path of self-reflection and discover who you truly are. You will be able to see yourself. Hear yourself. However, this action is coming in a package with other challenges, including stepping out of your comfort zone. It will crush the feeling of control, patterns, habits, and automatic behaviors. It might bring on a light that all you had till now, was just an illusion built on expectations, roles, and norms. In consequence, you might come across many feelings, such as loneliness, helplessness, or vulnerability. The shadows will show up. You will uncover that you have no idea what will be next. The fear coming from the lack of knowledge might be overwhelming. This uncomfortable state will change you. It won’t be easy, but so much worth it!
Why is it worth it?
When you will face yourself, you will start a new chapter, which will be a life in awareness. One by one, you will unfold the truth. You will begin to work on yourself and finally BE yourself. You will gain a connection with your intuition, your dreams, and your life purpose. Not always in the process of confrontation, mentioned earlier highly uncomfortable feelings or thoughts will arise. It all depends on the personal value of the matter you are considering to face. However, if from step one you can recognize the huge worth behind those touched areas, I highly recommend that you work on that with some external support like a coach. Professional help will create a safe space where you will be listened, held, and secure no matter what.
During the coaching process, clients might show the behavior of avoidance. Depending on the context of a challenge or depth of an issue behind that avoidance, it has to be addressed wisely and with sensitivity. Observing the body’s reaction, the length of the silence or the client’s resistance will give the clues relevant to any sign of avoidance. Following trust and intimacy requirements are a must since the client might reach very vulnerable areas.
Confrontation is a tribute to direct communication and straight forward questions. For example:
- What would you like to confront yourself today?
- What are you avoiding?
- What are you blocking?
- What are you not admitting to yourself?
However, to underline again – with the above, a proper trusting relationship between the coach and the client is a must to avoid a feeling of attack or interrogation.
Additional confronting questions are coming from curiosity. This might be challenging to answer for a client who is in a state of avoidance:
- What are your life goals?
- What is your life purpose?
- What are your values?
- What is the intention behind your life?
- What future form of yourself you wish for?
The other category belongs to the context and might be around actions:
- What makes you happy?
- What is the essence of your actions?
- What do you see as a source of your actions?
- How often in actions you’re following your intuition?
The biggest question which you can ask yourself and which is a big trigger for many, is simply WHO AM I? Following up with the reflection about your answer or the lack of an idea. It’s a really powerful one!
The power of confrontation – existing examples
Katie Byron ‚The Work’
Katie Byron touched the essence of confrontation with thoughts. By simply asking four liberating questions, you are doing the work which you could avoid. In the next step, you are turning them around to shift the perspective.
The questions are:
- Is it true?
- Can you know that it’s true?
- How do you react when you believe that thought?
- Who would you be without the thought?
Mirroring and reflection in others
This very simple technique is present in self-development methods all over the world. It’s also used in many different ways. One of them which helped me in my self-development is going further than simple affirmations in front of the mirror. It’s about finding a reflection of myself in others. What triggers us in others is coming from within us. Furthermore, the people around you become your mirrors. As soon as you realize what the stimulator is, you can reflect on that. Everything starts within yourself. This exercise might support people who don’t acknowledge the number of their projections on others. It might be achieved by asking the questions:
- What is this person triggering in you?
- How can you connect that with yourself?
- What do you see in that person that is a reflection of you?
Confrontation seems like a fundamental mechanism that could be useful whenever the need occurs. However, often people are complicating their lives, overthinking and forgetting about basics. Instead of confronting, they are choosing avoidance. I see tremendous value in the simplicity behind the presented power tool. The clarity coming from the truth which confrontation brings can turn out as a life-changing moment.