Wednesday, June 1, 2011

No Escape

Every day, whether you realize it or not, you are running from something. We all are.

You try to escape it by working, buying things, eating, interacting with people, distracting entertainment, drugs (prescription or not), alcohol, hobbies, crafts, driving, talking on your phone or texting, watching tv, fighting, having sex, shopping, following trends, cultivating a lifestyle, living in the past, constantly keeping yourself busy, etcetera, but you can never stop these things because if you do, you'll feel it right at your back - and you'll know a confrontation is on the verge of happening so you take off running again.

What are you running from? We are all running from the same thing - afraid to face the one thing that we can never escape - ourselves.

It may be in the form of your conscience, knowing there is something(s) you have done that make you feel terrible if you allow yourself to think about them. Or it could be pain you've suffered at the hands of others, yourself, or even just chance that you can't face or think about. It could even be that you'll never feel good enough for anyone or that you can accomplish anything.

Maybe it's all of the above.

Regardless of what it is, please understand this one thing about yourself that will not change nor go away: If you don't face the things which cause you pain, you will be unable to stop running from them and you'll never have a moment's rest in life.

Your mind will constantly be in turmoil, your heart will always feel a little tight. In this state you can't enjoy solitude or being in a quiet room. Distraction becomes a need that helps you to smooth over the turmoil and ignore it.

It may seem like you are ok, or that so long as you ignore what hides in the corners of your mind that you will be ok and you can go on with your life.

You can't.

Our minds are amazing organs that can process thoughts and information at lightning speeds, regulate our bodies and our worlds, multitask and even recombine what we see into new forms of beauty and creativity. However, they can only take so much - and you can't control your mind. After years of ignoring things and stuffing down feelings and thoughts, they begin to push themselves out into your life. You'll find yourself getting angry or sad or having emotional outbursts for no reason at all, becoming more and more afraid of people and the world outside your door, possibly even becoming paranoid.

If you want to stop the process, there is only one thing to do.

Face yourself, no matter how much it hurts. Allow yourself to feel the things that you have pushed aside. Don't make excuses for yourself, accept the responsibility for your past actions and then forgive yourself. Forgive others who have hurt you, to loosen the burden of the pain you've carried all this time.

Here are easy, deliberate steps you can take: (the steps are easy, but they will likely become very painful at times)

Think about events that caused you pain, that you caused pain, or were somehow traumatic.
Let yourself feel the feelings to those events, have whatever reaction is natural for you (crying, yelling, curling up in a ball) but DON'T stop thinking about them while your reacting and don't try to distract yourself with something else.
Write down what you're feeling as this will help your mind to release those feelings.
Try to understand why you did what you did - or if something was done to you, why that person did what they did.
Once you understand the reasons behind the action - forgive the action and know that whoever did it - you or someone else - we are all human and we all make mistakes and hurt other people, whether that was our original intention or not. For you to hold on to the hurt does nothing but cripple you.
Allow yourself to rest, do something relaxing. Sleep, take a long hot shower or bath, take a walk, write a poem, paint, whatever relaxes you and eases your mind.

If you've dealt with these issues for a long time, repeat this procss any time you feel sad, like crying or like you're going to have an emotional outburst of anger or crying. Also repeat if you find yourself running to a vice that you're trying to quit like drinking, smoking, sex, eating or any type of drugs.

Eventually this process will become natural and less structured, you'll find that your emotions flow through you with more ease and that you begin to forgive yourself and others without even thinking about it. You'll accept what has happened, understand that it is in the past and unchangeable, and move on.

Stop running from yourself - it's a race you can never win, and you'll only destroy everything you hold dear in the process.

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