I totally understand why many opt to remain in a state of denial. In a sense, it does seem easier to carry on as if nothing is wrong. Or perhaps it’s not that it’s easier but rather, avoidance is the more intuitive approach. Either way, what I’ve learned is that denial, avoidance, and suppression are by far some of the unhealthiest approaches to dealing with life’s challenges.
I’ve talked about this quite a bit in my other posts. I dwelled in this space for years and tried everything possible to ignore my pain and dysfunction. But nothing ever worked. No high. No extent of numbness. No person lying opposite me. Nothing.
I knew I was in pain yet felt much more comfortable just trying to hold steady. A perceived state of organized chaos. This chaos was familiar and predictable. And so, I willingly accepted it. I was terrified of what things would look like if I dared to muck around my pile of crap.
The volatile and cutting pain I felt as I finally began addressing my issues, is precisely what I fought to avoid all those years. It was absolutely miserable! Yet, so overwhelmingly freeing.
I learned that this road that tends to be less traveled was actually not so bad at all. Sure, it was challenging and certain aspects of it kicked my butt. But MAN, there would be no Broccoli of Dating, if not for me hanging up my running shoes! The decision to stop running laid the foundation for me to truly be effective in my life thereafter.
There were several iterations of me choosing to say “yes” to my healing and growth. It was hardly a one and done scenario. The first “yes” made it much easier for me to say “yes” again when I reached subsequent cross-roads. I guess what I’m really saying is, it’s a choice! We either choose to remain where we are, essentially running in place, or we choose to liberate the person we are meant to be.
3 Habits to Break in Order to Stop Running:
- Avoiding the pain – While leaning into pain is hardly the most appealing thing to do, the outcome is transformational. Depending on the intensity of your challenges, it may be beneficial to seek professional counseling to effectively move through your pain. I found a variety of measures to be helpful in addition to counseling such as, journaling, having more honest conversations with loved ones, praying, sharing my story, and serving others.
- Believing lies – No matter how subtle or subconscious, our thoughts dictate our lives. There’s an undeniable correlation between our core beliefs about ourselves, our thoughts, and our behavior. If I believe I will never be good enough, my thoughts will be riddled with self-defeating statements like: “What’s the point? I’m just going to fail anyway.” My behavior, therefore, will encompass an array maladaptive coping mechanisms like inaction, addiction, codependency in relationships, attention seeking, criminality, etc.
- Codependency – Positioning myself as the savior in other people’s lives took the attention off of my issues. This is just another covert mechanism to avoid pain and discomfort. Once I realized how unhealthy my attachments were to a number of people, I developed this word picture where I envisioned myself connected to them via an umbilical cord. I realized we relied on one another in ways that set us up for failure. They were incapable of satisfying my voids, and I failed miserably at fulfilling theirs. Yet we chased these impossible targets. As I clipped the metaphoric umbilical cords I sought to adjust the manner in which I view relationships. My desire is to first be filled with the love and affirmation of God, then to authentically exist in my relationships as a whole and separate person.
Modifying these three aspects of my life did far more than just counter my tendency to run. It gave me a foundation of mental and emotional health.
Let me know if you would like me to write more about specific steps I took to begin tackling issues. Or anything else in this regard that may be helpful. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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