What are you currently wrestling with in your life these days? Is it a compulsive addiction to sex, pornography, food, or alcohol? Perhaps the problem is with lust and it’s easy to objectify people or sexually fantasize about them for your own gratification—(though we all diminish people in various sorts of ways throughout the day). Could what feels problematic be an attitude or a judgmental opinion about a person or people group you find challenging. What about an unhealthy relating style? Are you the “too much, too soon” type or are your walls so thick no one could ever know the real you. Maybe you’re a “fixer” or a “rescuer” constantly bailing someone out, cushioning most every blow. Hey, I want grace and not facing certain consequences too, but I know there are times when it can be a much-needed learning opportunity. Whatever it is, I imagine we all have some issues in our lives we’re not thrilled to experience.
What usually accompanies these unhelpful behaviors is the way we feel about them—which could come with shame or embarrassment. And who wants to feel that? We also might be avoiding other things too, such as difficult emotions or the negative impact we have on others and they on us. We figure out tricks to distance ourselves from the behaviors, consequences, and shame, but these can equally be unhelpful. Here’s a short list of some of the ways we avoid:
Minimizing—Making behavior, consequences or impact seem smaller and less important than it is.
Rationalization-Justifying yours or someone else’s behavior or actions.
Comparison-Shifting the focus to someone else to justify behavior or actions (I’m not as bad as…).
Globalizing-Justifying behavior or actions by being part of the crowd (Men always… Extroverts never…).
Uniqueness-Thinking you are different or have special circumstances (my situation is different…I was hurt more).
Avoiding by Omission-Changing the subject, ignoring the subject, or leaving out bits of important facts or information.
Blaming or Critical Spirit-Shifting the focus off yourself by faulting or criticizing another person.
Intellectualizing or Spiritualizing-Avoiding feelings and responsibilities by overthinking or always adding a spiritual reason for everything. Acting as though you are superior in intelligence or spirituality.
Victim Mentality–I can’t help it…I’m the worst…There’s nothing I can do to get better…
Compartimentalizing-Separating your life into compartments in which you do things that keep you separate from other parts of your life.
Entitlement-Justifying behavior or actions with the idea that you deserve something.
Taken from Facing the Shadow by Patrick Carnes
So, let’s make this a little more practical. Besides just simply mulling it over, with a certain problematic behavior in mind return to the list and give each a score on the frequency you utilize these coping strategies. Use the scoring list below:
(4)-Describes me consistently, definitely true
(3)-Describes me most of the time, usually true
(2)-Describes me half of the time
(1)-Describes me some of the time, once in a while
(0)-Describes me not at all, never
So how did you do?
Although he holds a degree in graphic arts, he attributes his ministry qualifications to the “school of hard knocks.” God’s abundant grace continues to be the instrument of growth in his life, and he desires to be firmly grounded in the forgiveness and freedom of relationship with Jesus Christ.
Scott attends a Presbyterian Church.
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