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  • Wendy Elzinga

Freedom in Refraining

Updated: May 9


Refrain- To stop oneself from doing something. It's ironic but there is actually more freedom in refraining from doing something than in giving in to one's habits. And there are plenty of times we shouldn't give in to what we want to do. Particularlry if the short term pay off is at the expense of a long term goal. I often work with individuals that struggle with the power of bad habits and the difficulty in making positive change. I'm able to understand that concept because I too can fall into choosing the short term pay off at the expense of the long term gain and I know that behind every bad habit is a real issue that is being solved the wrong way. And sometimes we don't even know what the short term pay off is until we refrain from something.


Some things that are common obstacles- The discomfort from saying no to ourselves can bring to our awareness all sorts of painful emotions. We can feel anxious, empty, deprived lonely. It's interesting to look back in life and to think of how we were taught or not taught to deal with difficult emotions. And often we developed habits to numb or distract from pain. Sometimes these habits can become addictions and have not only psychological but physiological holds on a person.


Sometimes people have never had a sense that things are ever going to get better so they might as well enjoy what's in front of them right now. Looking back at their history, themes of choas and crisis may appear as they were growing up.


Healing begins when we start to know and understand these obstacles, and to find new healthy ways to cope with stress and uncomfortable emotions. We can start to understand our true needs and go to true sources of health and healing, WE can find ways to connect with others in a healthy way. These are some of the tools needed to break through the obstacles that keep up from being able to refrain from that which isn't good for us.


The journey to true transformation-metanoia, requires that we KNOW. We know ourselves, we understand how we've been impacted in life through events and important relationships and we work through the necessary healing in order to grow. Being able to delay gratification or say no to habits that are not healthy for us in the long run, developing the ability to refrain from that which keeps us stuck in old unhealthy patterns is a mark of true growth.


This post was part of the Five minute Friday link up. Writers are given a one word prompt and write for five minutes. Come join us.













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