“No matter where you go,
there you are.” -Confucius
When things gets hard, sometimes it’s easier to want to run away, escape, and try to forget the realities of what is happening, AKA: Run from life.
Believe me I know first hand, the photo above is of me headed into Telluride, CO shortly after I got separated from my now ex-husband. I was all about the run!
But why run? Because you are feeling stressed, sad, caught, trapped, and you’re afraid of something.
- You’re afraid of actually dealing with the problem head-on
- You’re afraid of the outcome of confronting a problem
- You’re afraid of losing something
- You’re afraid of facing what you have lost
Wanting a change of scenery when life gets a little overwhelming is natural, not necessarily a bad thing, and can at times be re-energizing.
However, if you find that you have a pattern of running away when things get rough, I’m here to tell you, life always finds you.
You may think that running away will allow you to leave all of those memories or problems behind, but deep down, you know it’s not the case. Your problems will continue to follow you (and get bigger and stronger) until you face them.
It’s important to note that running away doesn’t necessarily mean getting on a bus, a plane, or hopping in your car and heading out of town, not looking in the rearview mirror.
It may mean running (literally), leaving (traveling), escaping (alcohol) or walking away and ignoring a problematic situation by putting it on a shelf or pushing your emotions under a rug instead of dealing with whatever the problem or actual fear is.
The underlying reason that you feel like running away from problems, people, places, and life is that the stress and anxiety of the situation have gotten too intense.
The fight or flight response is a natural human response to danger. Our bodies are created to fight or flee when danger is upon us, such as being attacked by a bear.
When faced with this kind of danger, the cortisol overflows into our body, causing blood to leave our brains and organs and travel into our extremities to actually flight.
This is vital to us if we are actually being attacked by a bear or a robber. The problem is that this same response occurs when we become afraid in other situations, such as learning to adjust to life after a divorce, a serious breakup, losing a job, or even uncomfortable conflict with a partner, friend or co-worker.
“Running away from your problems or pain
is a race you will never win”
Escaping in any fashion whether it is traveling, immersing yourself into long hours of work, drinking alcohol, or avoiding difficult conversations only work for so long; if you want to find happiness, eventually you will need to deal with your fears.
It’s normal and natural from time-to-time to want to “take a break” or “escape” because life gets hard. However, if you are just running to because it’s just “hard”, it’s not beneficial.
If you do choose to take a break to catch your breath or clear your mind, don’t try to hide from the realities of life that will just be waiting for you when you return.
STEPS WHEN YOU TAKE A BREAK
- Give yourself a time limit.
- Don’t use that time to push the hard realities away, accept that they will need to be worked through.
- Think about what steps you are going to take to work on yourself and work on the situation that caused you to run.
- Focus on being in the present moment. Your fears that have caused you to run are because you are putting a great deal of energy into focusing on the past and the unknown future. One easy way to do that is to just breathe. Count the breaths in, count the breaths out, be present in the moment.
Having control of your life doesn’t mean that you have control over everything that happens. Sometimes life makes choices for us that we aren’t happy with and we get caught up in the fact that we didn’t choose that specific outcome, rather than how we are going to respond, and we want to run away.
Having control means that you have control over how you will react and respond when life gets challenging. I can tell you from personal experience, you can’t run or hide from the challenges and you can only numb the pain for so long. They will always be there when you “sober” up. Trying to avoid your feelings will only prolong the healing process.
Not saying that a break can’t be healthy or re-energizing and help you reframe your mindset. But once you start facing those hard situations, those fears, and embracing your emotions instead of trying to run away or escape, it is empowering.
When you are running away, you are really just running away from yourself. You can’t run from yourself or life my friend, it will always find you.
But, you can take control and run towards it. Tackle it head on, one step at a time.
Remember, You Got This!
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