Sometimes life is scary. And we don’t want to face reality.
Maybe it’s your finances, or your health, your relationships, your children, or your financial situation. Maybe it’s all of these things wrapped up into one great big ole overwhelming package.
So what do we tend to do?
Avoid and ignore it. We don’t go to the doctor or balance our check books. Allow ourselves to stay in relationships even when we know we shouldn’t. We won’t face our emotional issues even as we self-sabotage.
We just close our eyes like we’re on a scary ride at an amusement park.
Instead, we pour our precious life energy into–hours in front of the TV or Facebook, food, sex, gossiping, seeking out drama, temporary relationships, daydreaming without action– anything that will take our attention and time away from confronting and dealing with what is happening right in front of us. We let our power slip right through our fingers hoping to feel better momentarily. And we do feel better. At least for awhile.
Meanwhile our problems just keep getting bigger and scarier. Because when you ignore something it does not simply go away, it usually tends to get worse.
Eventually the problems get so big that a crisis happens and ignoring them is no longer an option. We are forced to deal with them all at once whether we want to or not. Except now we are in crisis mode, only able to manage the emergency: An illness. A foreclosure, repossession, or bankruptcy. A job loss. A family crisis.
But if we made a habit of facing reality regularly, we might have been able to mitigate the damage. We may have even been able to prevent the crisis in the first place. Or at the very least we could have had a better plan in place for when the shit finally hit the fan.
It is your duty to face reality. Love yourself enough to face reality square in the face.
Here are my tips on how to face reality (even when you don’t want to):
Take an honest assessment of your life
Have a day (or four) of reckoning. Brace yourself. Play some relaxing music. Get some alone time. Take out a notebook and a pen and think about each of the main areas of life- health (emotional and physical), wealth, social, family, work. In your notebook, create a separate page for each of these areas. Now write down the reality of your current situation in each of them. In each of these areas, reflect on what’s working for you and what’s not. Think about the things that are going really well. And think about why they are going well. What have you done consistently to grow these areas so well? Then think about what’s not going too well.
- What have you tried to do to help the situation?
- What more can you do?
- What areas seem most urgent?
- What have you been “meaning” to do, but never quite done?
And remember that this is not about perfection. No part of your life will ever be perfect. This is about being aware and doing what’s in your power to improve and/or make plans so that nothing catches by surprise later. This is about being proactive about your life.
Identify your regular escape mechanisms
Now listen. I love escapism just like anybody else. It feels really good. But unfortunately I also know what happens when I spend too much time in escape mode and finally wake up one day and have to figure out how to get out of the hole I created for myself while trying to escape. Escapism, like all things, is best in some form of moderation. Sure, have that cupcake. But you probably shouldn’t have 10, because you will have to face the consequences of that sooner or later. Sure, check in on social media. But you probably shouldn’t spend 20 hours a day, 7 days a week mindlessly hanging out there because that’s time that you could be investing in other things that can grow your life.
And I’m not saying that you shouldn’t enjoy things. I’m simply saying excessively seeking out pleasure while not handling your duties and obligations is a form of escape which ends up backfiring in the end.
What are your escape mechanisms? What are you avoiding? Keep track of how many times during the day you seek to “escape.” This can be an eye-opening practice in and of itself. How many times, you know you “should” be doing something else, but just can’t bear to face it.
Sketch out a new reality (your new destination)
Part of the reason that we don’t want to face reality reality is because doing so makes us feel helpless and overwhelmed.
But that’s just the beginning. You don’t have to stay in that state of overwhelm.
The next step is figuring out what to do next. Perhaps you need to change some of your behaviors, or use your time more effectively. Try to do those things. If you are not able to them on your own, don’t give up! Figure out out how you can make such changes more likely. Maybe it means hiring a coach or therapist to help you figure out your next steps. Or, maybe it means putting some things on autopilot. Perhaps it means finding an accountability partner. . Love your life enough to at least try to make things different. No one else will. This is your job.
And you can’t get there without knowing where you want to go.
Now, I’d like to hear from you. In the comments below please share something that you were trying to escape from in the past but finally faced. Or what your favorite forms of escapism are.
And if you need some help in facing our reality, please be sure to check out my Jumpstart Your Life 6 Week Coaching Program.