Bravery is the choice to show up and listen to another person, be it a loved one or perceived foe, even when it is uncomfortable, painful, or the last thing you want to do.
Ignorance is avoiding that which stands in front of me out of the misplaced hope that it will put what I’m ignoring behind me. Instead, it’s most certain to drop it on top of me.
Avoid those who seek friends in order to maintain a certain social status or to open doors they would not otherwise be able to approach.
A person who has been punished is not thereby simply less inclined to behave in a given way; at best, he learns how to avoid punishment.
To ‘pretend’ is to say that I’m willing to waste the precious energy that it takes to pretend, and I’m unwilling to cultivate the bravery that it takes to be real. And I am at a complete loss to pretend that either of these aren’t true.
I spend a tremendous amount of time carefully choosing the roles I wish to play so that I can run from the role I was born to play. And if I keep on doing that, I will eventually set foot in my grave never having set foot on the stage.
If you pay attention, you may find that it is not fear that stops you from doing the brave and true thing in your daily life. Rather, the problem is avoidance. You want to feel comfortable, so you avoid doing the thing that will evoke fear and other disquieting emotions. Avoidance will make you feel less vulnerable in the short run, but it will never make you less afraid.
The choice to avoid risk is the choice to avoid living, and to avoid living is one of the greatest risk of all.
I often ask to what place I am running, for if I am unable to identify that place it is likely that I am running in a circle of the most circular sort.
Laws of silence don’t work…. When something is festering in your memory or your imagination, laws of silence don’t work, it’s just like shutting a door and locking it on a house on fire in hope of forgetting that the house is burning. But not facing a fire doesn’t put it out.
If [Patricia Highsmith] saw an acquaintance walking down the sidewalk she would deliberately cross over so as to avoid them. When she came in contact with people, she realised she split herself into many different, false, identities, but, because she loathed lying and deceit, she chose to absent herself completely rather than go through such a charade. Highsmith interpreted this characteristic as an example of 'the eternal hypocrisy in me', rather her mental shape-shifting had its source in her quite extraordinary ability to empathise. Her imaginative capacity to subsume her own identity, while taking on the qualities of those around her - her negative capability, if you like - was so powerful that she said she often felt like her inner visions were far more real than the outside world. She aligned herself with the mad and the miserable, 'the insane man who feels himself one with all mankind, all life, because in losing his mind, he has lost his ego, his self-ness', yet realised that such a state inspired her fiction. Her ambition, she said, was to write about the underlying sickness of this 'daedal planet' and capture the essence of the human condition: eternal disappointment.
Shame often causes me to hide my mistakes from others. But really, when I make a mistake, I should make it loud and clear, so I can see that it didn’t work as a strategy, and be able to make a course correction, either by myself or with the help of others.
There’s not much that I can find in places where there is nothing to find. However, to avoid facing God I find myself spending a lot of time in those very places.
The worst thing that I can do is humanize God. The second worst thing that I can do is deify myself. And the best thing that I can do is to avoid both.
It’s not that I can’t remember. It’s that I prefer not to remember, which means that I prefer not to remember what not remembering did to me the last time I did it.
17. One of the secrets of successful living is found in the word balance, referring to the avoidance of harmful extremes. We need food, but we should not overeat. We should work, but not make work our only activity. We should play, but not let play rule us. Throughout life, it will be important to find the safety of the middle ground rather than the imbalance of the extremes.
Emotional pain cannot kill you, but running from it can. Allow. Embrace. Let yourself feel. Let yourself heal.
A person must face the root cause of their relentless personal pain. Irrespective of whatever bricks buttress our youthful personal philosophy, pain avoidance, and pain therapy are likely two of its foundation stones.
When has been disappointed for so long, hope becomes the enemy. One cannot be dashed to the earth unless one is lifted first, and I learned to avoid hope.
I knew that suffering can purify, that it's a kind of fire that can be worth enduring, but there were degrees of it to which I chose not to subject myself.
Too often fantasy is not a rich elaboration of life designed to enhance our existence, rather it is our pell-mell escape from life with the intent of exiting this existence. And the most imaginative fantasy of all is to somehow think that I can do that in the first place.
We use our minds not to discover facts but to hide them. One of things the screen hides most effectively is the body, our own body, by which I mean, the ins and outs of it, its interiors. Like a veil thrown over the skin to secure its modesty, the screen partially removes from the mind the inner states of the body, those that constitute the flow of life as it wanders in the journey of each day. (p.28)
What I’ve yet to realize is that each time I work to avoid that which I fear, I have in that very same action forfeited the blessings that my fear blinded me to. And I’ve yet to realize that with God, the blessings will always and forever eclipse whatever I fear despite how absolutely imposing those fears might be
There are some things in life that we try to ignore, thinking that maybe if we don't see the problem, it won't see us when in reality, it's only getting bigger.
The clash is born of the fact that the child within me sees with undiluted clarity what the adult within me is incessantly working to deny. And in these most vexing moments, to be the adult is to defer to the child.
The manic relief that comes from the fantasy that we can with one savage slash cut the chains of the past and rise like a phoenix, free of all history, is generally a tipping point into insanity, akin to believing that we can escape the endless constraints of gravity, and fly off a tall building. “I’m freeeee… SPLAT!”.