I mentioned in Part 1 that what we suppress works like a pendulum: the more we push it to the one side, the further it will swing to the other. Here is an example.

Think of a person who grows up in a home where there is barely enough money for food. This can lead him to vow that he will avoid such a situation. Therefore, as a young adult, he strives to improve his situation by working very hard and carefully planning his financial success. Unfortunately, he may suffer quite a severe and sudden financial setback – job loss or a disappointing investment – and find that instead of having money for a new car or some gadgets to suit his new lifestyle, he now has a rather serious cash flow problem. Because he wants to avoid feeling that his finances are limited, he becomes even more determined to make more money – he keeps pushing his pendulum in the direction of making money. However, at some stage the pendulum goes no further and starts to swing back in the direction he fears or tries to avoid – having limited funds! He may now be tempted to take a loan to pay for his new lifestyle, but if he cannot repay the loan, he will go deeper into debt – not what he planned for himself!

Like this young man, we can adopt a very one-sided approach to life in pursuing our ideals or trying to avoid situations we consider painful or uncomfortable. However, the key in such situations is to find a balance – the midpoint of the pendulum where the two opposing sides carry equal weight.

What if this man, despite his discomfort and fears, had decided to accept having limited funds; if, after his financial setback, he had decided to learn from the experience? What insights might he have gained? Could he perhaps have learnt to be satisfied with what he had and used it sparingly only on what he needed; to discern what was important and what not? Could the return swing of the pendulum not have encouraged him to spend his money more wisely?

What swing of the pendulum troubles you? Try the following:

Make a list of the things that you try to avoid or suppress in your life – stress, laziness, loss of friends and isolation, selfishness and tardiness? Then match these states or situations with their opposites: peace of mind, productivity, sociability, consideration and being punctual.

List some of the limiting beliefs that you hold about stress, boredom, not having friends or being late.

Get to know this negative aspect that you try to avoid. Do not try to skip facing this uncomfortable situation. Rather note what you experience and really try to get to know this side of you. Then listen to what it is saying to you. Listen deeply and write down any insights you might gain.

(Insights gained from ILS course designed and written by Colleen-Joy Page)

[Main image credit: Royalty free and free stock photo from]