Life isn’t always easy. Okay… it’s hardly ever easy. 

It’s easy to avoid dealing with painful and uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. We procrastinate by overanalyzing, rethinking, over-thinking, second-guessing, or falling into passive-aggressive behaviors. These are a few common coping mechanisms we use to avoid facing problems that we know we’ll have to face sooner or later. 

Life is exhausting enough without pouring unwanted conflict and turmoil into the mix. So what do we do? Run and hide; avoid. But who wants to spend their whole life running from their problems? It’s too miserable, unhappy, and stressful.

Life should be savored and enjoyed. And for that to happen, we must stop avoiding our problems so a brighter, happier future can be ours – a fearless future filled with love, hope, and purpose. 

Here are some ideas to help us stop avoiding our conflicts and troubles.

Divide and Conquer Your Problems And Make A Plan

Greenberg, the author of the book The Stress-Proof Brain, advises splitting the problem into manageable chunks and taking action on the easiest ones first.

For example, she says that if you’re looking for a new job, divide this large process into “updating your résumé, finding and contacting references, studying the positions you desire, speaking with individuals you know who work in the field, and so on.”

If the relationship with your significant other is in trouble, take time to research therapists in your area, choose one, call and make an appointment, discuss your situation, explore next steps, and start working to improve one or two things. 

Research how other people faced and solved a similar problem. Learn from them. And take charge of the matter by dividing and conquering. You’ll feel less overwhelmed and more in control.

Rely on Your Support System

Is your social network an underappreciated resource? Do you feel alone in your struggle against problems that seem beyond your control? Do you catch yourself wondering if anyone really cares? Are you reluctant to “burden” a close friend with your problems?

If so, take a look at your social network. Surely, at least one person would be glad to serve and support you as you face and overcome your challenge. They would be happy to offer words of encouragement, pray with you, or even help in more tangible, practical ways as time and energy allow. 

You are not alone. You’re loved. And someone cares about you. You just need to give them a chance.

Find them. Enlist their encouragement and support. Don’t suffocate them. And don’t be needy or take advantage of them. Rely on them appropriately. Remember, they’re not your therapist.  

You don’t have to solve life’s problems on your own. Journeying alone creates stress and overwhelm, which tempts you to avoid and run away from your problems.  

If your support system seems thin, get to work making some friends! But don’t go begging for help. Be a friend first by supporting them and serving their needs.  

Hold Yourself Accountable

For example, if you’ve decided to spend less, track how much you spend and what you spend money on; stay within your spending target. 

If you’re trying to eat better by consuming less sugar, track your sugar intake, and stick to your nutrition goal. 

Choose a trusted friend to hold you accountable. Tell them what you’re doing and invite them to ask you regularly how you’re doing. Ask them to be there for you by checking in on your progress. And make sure you take the initiative to update them on your progress so they can celebrate with you.

In Your Heart, You Know That Running Away Is Not A Solution

If you want to stop running away from your problems, then get honest and real with yourself that running away isn’t a solution; it just makes things worse. Much worse. You can face your problem and have a little pain now, or you can stick your head in the sand and have a LOT of pain later. Either way, it’s going to hurt. But you get to choose how much pain you’re going to have. 

No matter how fast you run or where you run to, you will never be able to outrun your problems. Running away from problems is a faulty protection mechanism we use to avoid pain. But running away doesn’t change the fact that the root cause still exists. 

Avoidance solves nothing. 

Facing our problems is the pathway to freedom and a better life. (Often, facing our problems starts by looking in the mirror.)

Like it or not, you must confront the pain to heal the problem. Maybe it’s having that difficult conversation you’ve been putting off or logging a few extra hours in the evening to start your new business instead of watching TV after a hard day.

Problems are warning signs that something needs to change. It might take time, energy, and courage to face them, but you’ll finally have the mental and emotional peace you long for when you solve them. And, as a bonus, you’ll be stronger, more hopeful, and have a brighter future.  

Photo by Karla Hernandez on Unsplash

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