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?
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.
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.
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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 therapist 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.
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 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!
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.
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!