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What are your hidden addictions? Beneath them is the pursuit of pleasure and meaning

Did you know that humans are the only species who harbour addictions?

As I look back I realise I have held a number of them over the course of my life. Starting with cigarettes, then alcohol and other mind-numbing drugs, through to coffee, and then less tangible things like technology, work, exercise and even love.

Since becoming a full time coach the amount of emails I receive has drastically reduced so I have less need for technology. I’d craved this for a long time and yet after the transition I still found myself attached to my phone and addicted to what the internet might teach me. When a client described the same thing that I saw the truth of it, I was looking to others opinions when I should be listening to myself.

When we look to the outside world to give us answers we outsource our wisdom.

Each of us is unique and nowadays we so rarely listen to our own truths. Perhaps we’re scared of it, of what it might tell us about how we’re choosing to live, of where it might lead us.

For the first few years that I ran my own PR company I was in a constant state of distraction. Work addiction was something I aspired to, rewarded myself for, yet underneath it all I was full of anxiety. It took my current partner to come along and break it, to transform it into a new addiction for his love. It would be another two years before I would realise that to break that I needed to extend that love to myself.

Addictions aren’t easy to see and even if we do manage to spot them they can often transform into something else. A glass of wine a night can easily be replaced with a slab of dark chocolate, the craving to press send/receive with the adrenaline of that morning run.

So what many people might say? If it brings us a small pleasure then why not just let it be?

I’m addicted to self-development, I love to explore new parts of myself. It’s not always pretty but once I see far enough into the shadows I feel more whole for it. But recently I’ve started to query that quest, for isn’t it the same as any other addition? What am I searching for exactly and will I ever reach my destination?

Many studies prove the reason for these addictions is that there is no known destination. Previously we were told what to believe, our religions gave us purpose and since science has filled that space we’ve lost our sense of meaning. Addictions can help to fill up the void.

For one of the first times in human history individuality is celebrated and we are starting to create our own sense of meaning. We can choose what our lives look like now and there’s a rise in the quest for jobs that give us purpose.

What meaning do you create from your life?

What purpose do you contribute towards the collective?

If you struggle with these questions then look back on your life and consider your greatest achievements and biggest challenges.

What did they teach you? What can they help you to teach others?

In the future perhaps instead of asking what we do for a living we’ll ask about the purpose of our lives. Or we’ll talk about addictions as gifts which help us learn more about who we truly are and who we could one day be.

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