“Wherever you go, there you are.”
– The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai (I heard it in a country song by Clint Black)
We’re continuing our series based on the LifeBuzz article: “30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself.” We’re on number two: Stop Running From Your Problems, a situation I think we all do at some time or another and some of us do more often than not.
Remember, all of these topics are going to be tough to deal with and incredibly uncomfortable. After all, If dealing with them were easy, we would have stopped doing these things a long time ago.
The first step:
Admit You Run From Some of Your Problems
Before we can even get into this topic we have to admit that we do engage in this activity. If you’re thinking to yourself that this isn’t an area where you need to improve, odds are (I could be wrong) you probably have more to deal with than most.
One of the toughest problems we tend to run from is the problem of not admitting we have problems. It’s a compounding issue which can be incredibly difficult to break through. So let’s explore how to deal with this first hurdle; often the biggest one we have to deal with in life.
Turn Up The Radio
When I turned 16 I was fortunate to have my own car, a 1976 Ford Pinto. Not the most well respected car on the road, and maybe not even the safest, but it was my own and I was grateful to have it. Being 16 and broke, we would always joke that the best way to deal with a strange noise being made by the car was to simply turn up the radio.
You see, if you turned up the radio loud enough, you wouldn’t hear the strange noise any longer. Obviously, the noise was still there and probably getting worse, but if I didn’t hear it, it wasn’t something I had to deal with at that moment.
Today, I realize this is what many of us, myself included, do to make the “noises” in life go away. Of course, we replace the radio with alcohol, drugs, shopping, work (yes, work), and even unhealthy relationships. As long as we can keep the noise and activity level high enough, we’ll never get quiet enough to acknowledge any issues we should be handling.
The Medical Industry Does the Same Thing
Ok, I’m going to get a little political here and I’m sorry if this offends, but from my perspective, it’s the reality of things today. Too many doctors, driven by the influence of big pharmaceutical companies, are treating the symptoms of our diseases and not the cause of them.
* I want to qualify this by acknowledging that most doctors know it’s futile to get people to make lifestyle changes when a quick and easy “fix” appears to be available. I do believe the majority of medical doctors would love to see their patients deal with the cause rather than just prescribing medicine which masks the effect.
If you have high blood pressure, you’re prescribed a medicine which reduces it, but doesn’t deal with what caused the initial elevation, typically your diet and lifestyle.
If you have insulin resistance or adult-onset diabetes, instead of addressing why your pancreas has been overworked to the point of exhaustion, you’re given insulin to keep it in check.
I could go on about all sorts of medical issues which are dealt with by reducing the symptoms rather than eliminating the cause. Of course, it’s sad to say, there’s a lot more money to be made by treating the perpetual symptoms rather than, once-and-for-all, eliminating the cause.
Drugs and Alcohol Suppress the Symptoms
Just like the pharmaceutical drugs mentioned above, when we’re dealing with emotional or psychological issues, we make the symptoms “go away” when we have a few cocktails or maybe pop a few pills, but we’re not making the root problem disappear.
The Problems Only Get Worse
Whether it was my car when I was 16, your high blood pressure, or a friends emotional trauma, by ignoring the real problem, suppressing or hiding them with the noise, booze, or drugs (whether given to us by someone on the street or in a white lab coat), we exacerbate the cause.
In my car, when it started making a tapping sound and I ignored it by turning up the radio, I eventually ended up needing to make major repairs later. Had I dealt with it properly when I first heard it, the cost and inconvenience would have been more than I incurred at that moment, which was nothing, because I just turned up the radio, but considerably less than I had to pay down the road.
When it comes to our physical well-being, often times one drug designed to suppress symptoms will have adverse side-effects which require another drug to suppress those symptoms. How many people do you know in their 50’s who are taking a handful of drugs every morning?
I’m sure we don’t even have to mention the long term adverse impact drugs or alcohol have on our life when we use them to mask our emotional traumas.
What To Do About This
Hopefully you’ve come to a point where you realize there are some areas of your life which need to be addressed and you’re hiding or running from them instead. These may not even be big issues, but anything less than the best is going to hold you back.
Turn down the radio, set aside the numbing agents and do some self-examination. Put yourself into a quiet situation away from the stresses at home, work or elsewhere and get real with yourself. Sit quietly and reflect internally on where your pain points are in life. Underneath these pains are the causes of them and that’s what you need to discover.
Remember, you don’t need to come up with a solution RIGHT NOW, just focus on identifying the root causes of the pains in your life. Be careful if your root cause is always on the outside of yourself. For example, if everything is because of someone else, you’re probably not really getting to the root cause.
Once you have these issues (or at least this round of them) identified, ask yourself if you might be best served having a professional help you address them. Maybe you don’t need to go to that level, but you need to ask if you have the skills to really get to the source of the problem.
I love working on and fixing things around the house, but when it comes to electrical work, I always call a professional. The consequences of bad work in that area are too great for me to accept. Maybe for you it’s your car or even your garden. Remember this when it comes to the internal issues you’re identifying today.
Go Through The Entire Series
As I mentioned at the beginning this is part two in a thirty part series based on an article I saw called “30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself.” I’ve created a special page where I’ve listed all 30 things and I’ll link to each episode as I complete them. I’ve made it really easy to find and even share with others.
Please share this with your friends who you think would benefit. I sincerely hope that by going into depth on each one of these, we’re going to change and improve the lives of thousands of people.