You ever seen that red button from the Staples commercial? “That was easy” it proclaims boldly. Well, we all have one, or two, or five. You may have heard them called “vices” in the popular vernacular. They are the things we use to distract us from our selves and our lives. I first heard of this concept while reading some wisdom from the infamous G-force (aka Glennon Doyle Melton). Learn more about Glennon and her books here: http://momastery.com/blog/about-glennon/#
She tells her story in a way that is vulnerable and relatable and well balanced with humor and wisdom. Anyway, this concept of easy buttons has been rolling around in my head ever since.
For some, the easy button is drugs and alcohol, or gambling, or shopping, or religion, or relationships, or food. We use these things to numb pain we may be feeling and sometimes, get so used to the numb feeling, that we block out all the other feelings. Ya know, like sadness, anger, and even joy. Some easy buttons have more consequences than others. Those are the ones we tend to pathologize. (i.e. “substance use disorder”).
However, all of these easy buttons can become pathological when we are not facing and experiencing our reality. When we are numb, we may be missing out on the pain but we are also missing out on the joy. Feelings cannot be selectively numbed and therefore, while we are blissfully ignorant of our pain, we are also not experiencing our joy to full capacity.
Easy buttons can change and evolve throughout a lifetime. Some things may be used heavily as a crutch for a while and then switched out for a different leaning device later. One of the easy buttons I see used most often is “busy”. This is a tough one because it gets socially rewarded by society. We equate “busy” with “productive” and therefore, “valuable”. These are easy buttons that work for a while until they exhaust us and lead us to even easier buttons. How would life be different if we set aside times to be “free” instead of insisting we are always “busy”? Would you feel less valuable? Less worthy? What are the easy buttons you have been resting on?
***Disclaimer: This blog post is solely the opinion of the author. It is not a substitute for mental health services nor does it constitute a professional relationship. If you are seeking mental health services, please contact a therapist in your area. If you are experiencing and emergency, please dial 911***