Are External World Problems Making You Avoid Your Own?

pointing finger of blame

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Hi there, welcome back to Kelly Martin Speaks. I’m your host Kelly Martin and this is episode 103. 

Today I am going to talk about how easy it is to externalise problems out there in favour of dealing with our own issues in life.

This past week I have been indulging in watching lectures and videos from a psychologist, lecturer and author Jordan Peterson. He is someone who approaches the issues of life from very open and critical directions.

Last night I was watching a short video where he was on an interview news panel. It was clear from the panel that most of them didn’t like him and an audience member in Australia asked him a very rude question. It wasn’t even a proper question. It was a typical, what I call Gotcha question. Where someone wants a specific answer, wants to make the person they are asking immediately the bad guy and frame the question in a way to insult the person. This woman didn’t really ask a question, more made a statement about Jordan.

His response was so triggering and eye-opening. It reminded me of questions I have considered from my past.

He spoke about how often big events like Climate Change, Black Lives Matter and many other huge movements are focused on by young people. I used to be one of these young people, as I said on a recent podcast. I joined a youth against racism in Europe movement to march in London, because I wanted to belong, be part of something great (and to be honest I wanted an exciting free trip to London).

Anyway, I digress, the point of this conversation was to reflect on the fact that many of us may focus wholeheartedly on the bigger dynamic, what we perceive as problems in the world, but don’t question why we are focusing on them.

For me, if something were going wrong in my life, or if I was really struggling or depressed, I would focus on some drama happening outside of me, be it family, be it political, be it a global event. I was distracting myself from the pain and struggle I was in. I was not prepared at the time to face my own inner demons, so I projected my struggle onto external issues.

Clean Your Own House First

woman cleaning house

The woman in the audience mocked how he had spoken previously about cleaning your room. He meant this in a way that if you want order or change to happen in your life, you focus on what is here now, you look at your home, your life, what needs order and it was a basic metaphor for life.

He pointed out that instead of looking at Climate Change, to consider that she needed to clean her own house first. That she may want to think about the fact that much of what she may be focused on could be worked through at a local level and that by focusing on finding balance within, she would be a far more useful and valued member of society and then, if these issues still exist for her, she would be in a far better position to enact change.

I remember when I used to go see a lot of healers and holistic practitioners. One I saw every week who was a friend at the time. After a while I noticed how she would react if people left her group because they were growing beyond it, beyond her teachings. I also noticed she had a huge influx of people having regular healing and when I had healing, she would tell me things were wrong with me that needed work, that were not wrong. She was more identified with being a teacher and healer than actually allowing people to grow and find their own truths and balance.

Her focus was externally out there, instead of working through her own personal and life issues that made her hold on to students and clients.

This can be the same in many different arenas in life.

So today if you feel very passionate about climate change, black lives matter, war in other countries…the list goes on, is there anything this intense focus is distracting you from?

Is there anything you are ignoring and avoiding facing by using these events to steer your mind elsewhere?

We all need distractions at times, I get this, but there comes a time in our human lives when we need to think beyond this and see if indeed our own houses need tending to. And also recognising that we can make more change happen by looking locally and focusing inwardly first.

I have noticed it is very easy to focus on the big Covid-19 distraction. We may look at it globally or our countries as a whole, when we may be best suited to focusing on what we can do locally and what needs changing in our immediate environment.

I remember, like many when coronavirus became well known in the UK, it was all over the news, very negative, all of the time. I think many of us dropped our other life issues for a while and got lost in the pandemic fear. We exchanged one way to struggle for another, because when a struggle is something big and ‘out there’, out of our control, it’s more likely to attract our focus.

Now, we may have many other life issues that need our focus, but instead of being out of our control, they may simply be a number of things we need to do, actions to take, changes to enact etc.

For example, I was ignoring my financial problems until recently. I was pretending they would just go away on their own, knowing full well internally that I had to make some changes, so what did I do? Instead I focused on the pandemic, politics, social media…anything and everything I could get my teeth into.

I didn’t want to deal with my own personal ‘here and now’. I wanted to be distracted from it, I was scared to deal with it, I was scared to put my own house in order.

And you can replace financial issues with health, relationship or business issues. If we are avoiding them, we may look outside instead.

So, there you have it, something to ponder on right now.

Is your focus distracted, because there are things you can change and that need your attention right now instead of using distraction?

Thanks for listening to this episode of Kelly Martin Speaks

If you have a question or topic you are struggling with and would like me to answer on an upcoming podcast episode, please get in touch. Your name will be confidential. EMAIL me at or message me on Facebook via my page Kelly Martin Speaks.

And don’t forget, if you feel that others are passing you by and ‘The Not Good Enough’ voice is screaming loudly, pop by to find out all about my books, including Book 1 ‘When Everyone Shines but You’

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Until next time…bye for now

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Kelly Martin
Kelly Martin

Kelly Martin, author of ‘When Everyone Shines But You’ is a dedicated writer and blogger who fearlessly explores life’s deepest questions. Faced with a decade of profound anxiety and grief following the loss of her father and her best friend Michael, Kelly embarked on a transformative journey guided by mindfulness, and she hasn’t looked back since. Through her insightful writing, engaging podcasts, and inspiring You Tube channel Kelly empowers others to unearth the hidden treasures within their pain, embracing the profound truth that they are ‘enough’ exactly as they are.

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