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The world can be a difficult place. Sometimes it feels like we are being attacked from all sides externally, and sometimes internally.
The battles that we fight alone in our minds are some of the hardest. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by feelings of hopelessness, despair, or confusion. Those feelings can cause a person to run away from the problems they are facing.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t often work. A change of scenery or changing up one’s situation can be nice, but in a lot of scenarios it doesn’t actually solve the problem and prevent it from coming back in the future.
How can we find the courage to confront the problems and fears that we are most afraid of?
8 Ways To Stop Running From Your Problems
1. Embrace discomfort and suffering.
Woah. Embrace discomfort and suffering? That’s a pretty strong statement, isn’t it?
Most positive and good things in life will inevitably include or bring some suffering. There’s no real way around that.
Do you want to experience a deep love? Then you have to accept that you will eventually feel a deep loss.
Do you want to lose weight? Then you have to accept dietary and lifestyle changes to make that happen.
Do you want to get mental troubles under control? Then you have to accept the discomfort that comes with therapy and doctors.
Do you want a better job? Then you have to accept the uncertainty and discomfort of job searching, interviewing, or training for a new career.
There is nothing gained without some suffering, but many people are so intent on finding a vibrant, fictional happiness that they sabotage their ability to acquire meaningful things.
It is rare that anyone will accomplish anything without a lot of work, which sometimes means suffering through tedious and uncomfortable things.
To face your problems courageously, you’re going to have to accept that you aren’t going to feel comfortable. It’s not going to be an easy, happy, or pleasant process.
And before we continue on, a caveat. This is not to suggest that “everything happens for a reason” or that you should suffer through being treated disrespectfully or abused. It does not mean that you deserve to suffer. It only means that change is going to bring some pain with it. There’s no avoiding it.
2. Turn to any support network you might have.
Many journeys in life are lonely, but they don’t have to be. There are other people out there who are on similar paths, who have made similar journeys, who are striving to accomplish the same goals you are.
There may also be people around you that you can lean on as you work to overcome whatever obstacles you are trying desperately not to run away from.
Not every trail needs to be blazed on your own, even if it is something personal. There are people out there that have already walked the paths that you are just now embarking on.
You may be able to find support in mental health communities, therapy, support groups, or even social media groups.
But, you do need to be cautious and exercise some careful judgment. If it’s a mental health or trauma-related challenge that you’re working to overcome, it’s a good idea to stay in carefully controlled spaces where professionals are present if possible. Consumer groups can be helpful, but they can also be negative or chaotic places at times.
Family and friends, while they may love and care about you, may not have the kind of knowledge required to provide you meaningful support and insight on your journey.
And then there are other times where we may find ourselves alone at a crossroads in our lives and professional support may be the only good option.
3. Develop a plan with short-term and long-term goals.
Fear is often rooted in ignorance, a lack of knowledge about a particular subject. This fear is often a key factor when people run away from their problems.
We can work to dispel that fear by learning more about not only the challenge that we face, but also the process of confronting and overcoming it.
A counselor is a great place to start building on this knowledge, because you can generally trust them for good references to other books and materials about whatever problem it is you want to overcome. Click here to find a counselor near you or whom you can work with online.
They can also help you develop a reasonable course of action where you will be able to determine your progress in your pursuit of success. That’s where short-term and long-term goals enter the picture.
It is absolutely important to have personal goals you want to pursue as you work on yourself. Not only do they provide you a framework for accomplishment, but they can also keep you motivated when you’re having a hard time.
You can look back at the things you accomplished, how far you’ve come, and know that you have the strength, willpower, and capability to accomplish more.
Goal-setting is an integral part of forward progress. After all, how will you know when you’ve reached your destination if you don’t know what your destination is? And when you do, take some time to celebrate your success before setting some new goals!
4. Work on your self-confidence and self-belief.
One of the reasons you choose to run away from your problems may be because you don’t feel confident tackling them. You don’t believe in your abilities to take whatever actions need to be taken.
When you are confident, you act regardless of any fears or worries you may have about doing so. You recognize that this is something that needs to be done and you set about trying to do it.
When you believe in yourself, you see yourself as being capable of tackling your problems. You know that you have the necessary skills and knowledge to resolve things effectively.
If you struggle with either your self-confidence or self-belief or both, you might not even try to face things because whatever it is will seem insurmountable. Which is why you must tackle these mental roadblocks before you can address other problems.
How do you do that? Well, once again, if it’s affecting your life to this extent, it makes sense to work on these issues with the help of a counselor. They can provide the tools you’ll need to slowly build up the confidence and belief you have in yourself until the problems you are running from no longer feel so big or scary. Click here to find one now.
5. Build momentum.
Despite what it sounds like, running away from your problems doesn’t involve movement of any sort. In fact, it keeps you firmly fixed in place, even if you manage to find a way to temporarily escape the clutches of whatever it is you are running from.
If you can just get moving a little bit, figuratively speaking, then you can start to build up some momentum, and momentum is a powerful thing when you need to get things done.
When you face a problem and find a way to solve it or overcome it, your brain will release some feel-good chemicals to reward you. That positive feeling can then be used as a source of energy and motivation to tackle another problem, and another.
Start with something small. Find an issue that you know how to tackle even though you’ve been avoiding it thus far. Take the action required to address that issue and tick that thing off your list.
Slowly work your way through some of the more manageable, less scary, and less consequential problems to build up your momentum and the feel-good factor it gives you.
Then, whether alone or with the help of others, begin to look for ways to take on the bigger problems, the ones you’ve been running from for a while, or the ones that you don’t know how to deal with.
This goes against some of the advice you’ll read in self-help articles. Often, the advice is to “eat that frog” which means to tackle the biggest things first because they are the most important. But when you suffer from a lack of confidence and belief, or you have mental health issues such as depression, it’s not realistic to jump in at the deep end right away, at least not without professional help.
6. Schedule in some rest and relaxation.
Once you begin down the path of facing and tackling your problems, you’ll need to consciously put some time in your diary for activities that can take your mind off your problems.
Taking your mind off your problems is different to running away from them. You acknowledge that they exist, but you accept that if you try to tackle everything at once, you are likely to feel overwhelmed by it all or risk burnout.
It’s worth noting that you will get more done and tackle more problems in the long run if you give yourself a bit of downtime in between periods of sustained effort.
The trick is not to fall into a false sense of security and spend too long on leisure activities in any one go. You risk losing your momentum if you don’t get back to the issues at hand within a reasonable timeframe.
What is a reasonable timeframe will depend on your circumstances and mental health, but your intuition will be able to guide you. At some point, you’ll just know that you’ve rested long enough and that you should begin to find solutions to your problems once again.
7. Audit your friend circle and those closest to you.
There are a lot of people out in the world who are not positive or supportive. They can only see the world in dark or bleak ways and they insist on infecting everyone around them with the same negativity.
There are also people out there who want to see others suffer just like they do or undermine the efforts and success of others. It’s a “crabs in a bucket” mentality, where one crab will try to pull itself out and the other crabs will pull it back in.
You must take a long hard look at the people who are closest to you. You will have a much harder time confronting your problems and improving yourself if your friends or romantic partner is belittling you, undermining your efforts, or is outright hostile to you improving yourself.
It is an unfortunate reality that so many people tend to lose friends when they start focusing on self-improvement.
Self-improvement is difficult. And when you decide to improve yourself or your position, other people around you may unfairly think you’re attacking their own choices or unwillingness to improve. You cannot let yourself get sucked into that kind of negativity and downward spiral.
Does that mean you forego and throw away your friends? No. Not at all. What it does mean is that you have to ensure that people who would undermine or destroy your progress do not have the power or capability to do so.
It is your life, not theirs; and there is no reason to put up with passive-aggressive comments or outright hostility.
Unfortunately, we sometimes end up outgrowing old friendships and relationships because they were rooted in negativity that wasn’t recognizable at the time. That is a decision that you hopefully won’t have to make, but don’t be too surprised if you do.
8. Make the choice to stand and fight.
Every meaningful life change comes down to a person deciding that enough is enough. They no longer want to experience life the way that they do.
It doesn’t matter how far or fast one runs, sooner or later, our problems eventually catch up to us. At some point, you simply have to make the choice to stand up and fight to win, no matter the cost.
You have to be the one to make the choice to stand up to your fears and battle them. You may feel like you don’t have the strength or ability to do it, but you do. You have more strength and resilience than you may realize.
But it is quite hard to do completely on your own. Do seek the help of a certified mental health professional. They can serve as an excellent guide to overcoming your fears and problems so you can start living your life on your own terms!
Still not sure how to face and overcome the problems you have? Speak to a counselor today who can walk you through the process. Simply click here to connect with one.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What’s the problem with running away from your problems?
When you run away from your problems, they don’t get resolved. Instead, you effectively pile them onto your future self who then might have to deal with an even bigger obstacle or more serious fallout than if you tackle them now.
Despite the temporary sense of comfort that you may feel from avoiding the problems you face, those problems continue to hang over you which can lead to stress and anxiety in the meantime.
And when you aren’t willing to tackle an issue in your life, it may put undue pressure on other people who have to either deal with it themselves or suffer the consequences too. This is especially true in romantic relationships where one partner ignores problems which then forces the other to handle them. Eventually, the other partner may decide that enough is enough and leave.
How can you tell when you’re running away from something?
There are several clear signs that indicate when you’re running away from something. They are:
You won’t talk about it – you refuse to engage in conversation about the issue no matter how hard other people might try to bring it up. You quickly change the subject or ignore them entirely.
You look for excuses why you can’t do something – there’s always a reason why you aren’t able to do something about that particular problem right now, even if you have to make that reason up.
You indulge in self-destructive behaviors to get relief – you might smoke or drink, take drugs or engage in risky behavior so as to take your mind off your problems.
You downplay the significance of something – you convince yourself and you try to convince others that whatever it is isn’t all that important and that it’s no big deal that you are doing something about it.
You focus on others – rather than face your own problems, you might pour your efforts into helping others with theirs. Why? Because there is less personal significance to someone else’s problems and so it feels like less pressure. It’s easier to analyze their problems from a distance than face yours close up.
What’s the difference between ‘starting over’ and ‘running away’?
Starting over actually requires you to face your problems and deal with them so that you can begin again with a clean slate. You can’t start over whilst the ghosts from your past haunt you.
You may also like:
- Why You Really Want To Run Away From Life (+ What To Do About It)
- How To Take A Break From Life And Everything If You Really Need One
- 9 Ways A Growth Mindset Will Revolutionize Your Life (And How To Develop One)
- The Real Reason You Have A Fear Of Failure (And What To Do About It)