You Can Run, but You Can’t Hide

I am sure that most of us have been in a situation where we were unhappy with life. Maybe we didn’t like our jobs, were stuck in a relationship that we didn’t see going anywhere, or possibly we didn’t like our social circle because we felt as if we didn’t belong.

For those of you that were in situations like these, how did it make you feel? What was your first instinct telling you how to handle the situation?

Natural Response

One of the reactions when faced when a tough situation in life is to flee. It goes back to the fight-or-flight response in Psychology. As we experience hardship, we either tend to stay and fight, or our adrenaline starts to rush, and we flee to escape the perceived threat.

We want to flee to avoid having to feel negative emotions, we flee as a way of avoiding experiences, even avoiding ourselves.

Question for You

Think of a time when you felt so upset and discouraged that you wanted to get up right then and there and leave. You wanted to pack up your office because you couldn’t stand your job anymore, you wanted to run away and hide from your significant other because you felt that you two grew apart instead of together. Think of a time when you felt like an outsider, that even with friends around, you still felt alone in this world. Did you flee?

Many of you did and that is a normal response. Even though it’s normal, it may not be the best way to approach these situations because instead of facing the issue and growing from it, we chose to run away. It felt right at the time, maybe even taking off some of the anxiety, but what ended up happening?

Noticeable Patterns

After we ran from the situation, we felt much better, but as time goes on, the past usually comes back to haunt us.

The key is to look at the issue at hand and see where you can learn from it. If there is some sort of inner conflict, then these types of situations that make us want to flee can give us great insight into what we can improve on.

Communication

Much of life and life’s problems revolve around communication or lack thereof. Sometimes we may feel as though we do not have the strength, or even the skills to solve what is happening to us, so we just decide to flee to make our problems instantly disappear.

I have learned this the hard way, the problems seem to have magically disappeared until, weeks, months, or years later they resurface again because they were not addressed the first time.

Try This

Those situations that make you feel like you would just rather run away than deal with it can be our greatest teachers. Try to live more authentically and see how you can fix your life circumstances. Work within yourself to discover that you have the strength and power to face any issue head-on.

I want to make an important note that in certain situations, we absolutely must flee. Those situations include those that affect our safety etc.

The Takeaway

Life tends to find us, we can move to a different state, change jobs, or even hunt for that “perfect” someone, but what we have not corrected from our past will eventually show up in our future. We may flee, but life follows. We are still the same person inside.

I believe that life is one big test and that we are here to learn many lessons. The lessons will keep repeating themselves over and over until we have learned how to master them. Pay attention to the things that make you want to run and hide, address them so that you have power over them!

Something Else to Chase

Growing up, I was always the kind of girl that loved to make others laugh and smile. I wanted to see everyone happy, and I would do almost anything to make that happen. Ironically, fast-forward to my teenage years and I was relying on others to make me happy.

As I got older, especially as a teenage girl, I started to lack self-esteem, a reality that a lot of teenagers face. I wasn’t sure what was happening to me, but I knew that I didn’t like the feeling and I was determined to make it disappear.

I started trying to make friends with other people hoping that would help me with my self-esteem. I started looking for ways that other people could bring me happiness because I couldn’t seem to find it myself.

At one point, I almost felt reliant on other people to feel any sort of peace. I felt like I needed constant contact from my friends. I would start feeling anxious and sad when I was away from my loved ones. I truly felt at that point in my life that my happiness depended on the people around me.

I felt like a chaser. Sometimes people were there and sometimes not.
My mood would fluctuate according to this, and I was tired of relying on this unpredictable way of feeling peace.

When I became older, I was wiser and able to realize that happiness and self-worth need to come from within. While other people do bring lots of joy, it needs to start from the inside. True happiness cannot be obtained if you aren’t happy when you look in the mirror.

With this new knowledge, I started doing everything that I could to promote my happiness and sense of well-being. I started a gratitude journal, I started painting and writing, and I found other ways that made me happy like nature walks. I looked at myself in the mirror every morning and said one thing that I liked about myself. I watched my self-esteem and happiness soar.

It is natural to look to others for happiness and a boost of confidence but finding that within yourself is the greatest gift and will help you see the world around you in a different light. You will feel more in control of your well-being. I used to chase people and now I chase my dreams and goals!

Why the Difference?

One of the greatest things in life is the love and support of family and friends. Why do we treat our loved ones so much differently than we treat ourselves? We should make taking care of ourselves mentally and physically our utmost priority. We cannot give much of ourselves to this world if we are not whole.

Most of us are very hard on ourselves, I know that I am. I’m told this over and over again, yet I don’t see it myself.

Imagine that you made a mistake on a project that you are working on at your job. You might tell yourself “I can’t do anything right; I am such a failure.” Flip this situation around. A family member or friend is in the same situation, they just made a huge mistake on a project they were working on. What do you tell them? Would you tell them that they cannot do anything right and that they are a failure? Probably not. Instead, you might tell your friend that they did the best that they could do and that they are only human and it’s natural to make a mistake now and then.

You and your significant other just got into a fight and you start saying to yourself “I am never good at relationships,” you keep telling yourself “I am a terrible communicator.” What if a friend was going through this, what would you tell them? Maybe you would say that they should take some time for themselves to regroup and try to remedy the situation, maybe you would tell your friend that relationships aren’t easy, that constant effort is needed, and this doesn’t make them a bad person.

Do you see the differences in how people typically speak to themselves versus a loved one? One’s internal dialogue is so very important because we start to believe what we tell ourselves. Negative self-talk is very detrimental to us and those that we have a relationship with.

Why is it that we can so easily support the people that we love, but we cannot give that same grace and support to ourselves? Why is it that we can quickly build someone else up, while so easily tearing ourselves apart?

We are so hard on ourselves due to human nature; we know all of our faults and weaknesses and we tend to not have patience with ourselves. We also know about our pasts, and we carry parts of that with us. Whether we like to admit it or not, it does affect our confidence. We like to place other people on a pedestal, while we are the ones that are flawed as we strive to be perfect, something beyond human capability.

The next time that you are dealing with something in life, and you find that you are being hard on yourself remember to stop and ask yourself what you would tell a loved one that was in your exact situation. You give so much kindness, hope, and empathy to others, be kind to yourself…you deserve it.

Truly Love Yourself

I’ve always heard that you have to love yourself before you can truly love someone else. To be honest, I never really believed that until recently. I always thought that I have plenty of love to give, why couldn’t I possibly love someone completely without 100% loving myself first? I have started to realize why.

We are our own worst critics, possibly because we know ourselves as no one else does, also we know all of our faults and our past. I’m sure that many of you have been given a compliment from someone and you appreciated it so much, yet you didn’t believe it to be true. Maybe you were told that you are a good communicator, that you are attractive, smart, and funny. It was great to hear a sincere compliment from someone, but you didn’t feel it inside and that took some of the joy away from those wonderful words. We are putting distance between ourselves and those that we love when we don’t truly love and have confidence in ourselves.

The act of loving oneself is not saying that you love yourself and your qualities 100% of the time. We all have things that we do not like about ourselves, however, the art of loving yourself comes down to forgiving yourself, being at peace with your past, having confidence in who you are and what you stand for, and truly being able to look in the mirror and tell yourself that you are proud and happy of who you have become.

When we love ourselves wholly, it opens up a brand new world for us to find, we are then able to sincerely love someone else as we can finally share pieces of ourselves that we may have hidden before accepting ourselves.
For those of you that love yourself unconditionally, I am very proud of you for reaching this level of confidence and peace. For those of you that have yet to reach this, I have faith that you will get there and I understand because I have been in your place, sometimes I still find myself there, but I can bring myself back.

The biggest step that I feel has been the most helpful in my life is negating every destructive thought with something positive, or at the very least, neutral. For example, if you are working on a challenging project at work and you are ready to give up, instead of telling yourself “I can’t do this, I am always a failure,” negate that thought to tell yourself that you acknowledge that the project is difficult, but you are trying your best and giving it your all. If you feel that you are not good at relationships you might feel that it’s all your fault and that no one loves you. Instead of this approach, negate that thought to tell yourself that you will work hard on communicating your feelings and that sometimes people are not always compatible.

Start working on all aspects of yourself until you are happy and can confidently say that you love yourself. Once you have mastered loving yourself, the whole world opens up to you and it is then that you will truly be ready to love someone else with your entire heart and soul. Get out a journal, or a piece of paper and write down all of the things that you love about yourself and the things that you are grateful for, you will find out what a mood booster this is!

Keeping Your Cup Full

Self-care is a word that we hear about often, yet something that many of us don’t remember to do as much as we should. We are so busy with life and we spend so much time taking care of others that we forget to take care of ourselves.

Life keeps us busy and we all have relationships and responsibilities that we must attend to and put energy towards. We may sometimes feel superhuman as we navigate daily challenges and tasks off of our to-do list. Often in the midst of things we forget that energy is not finite, it will run low if not preserved and boosted.

There are many ways and things that you can do to help with self-care, it all depends on what your likes and interests are. Self-care may be as simple as taking yourself out to dinner, getting a new haircut, getting a manicure/pedicure, gardening, cooking a good meal, playing sports, even choosing to stay in one evening to watch shows is self-care.

The importance of taking care of oneself is immense. Our minds and bodies are only capable of so much before we hit a slump, or even a breakdown, it’s very important to listen to your mind and body and to know when to slow down and take time for yourself. When you practice good self-care, you are physically and mentally at your best and you keep your cup full. It is only when you yourself are “full” that you are able to do your best in life and also give your best in life. We can’t possibly take care of others, or the demands of life without taking care of ourselves first! This is a reminder to do something that you love, something that makes you happy, something that helps you relax today!