It can be difficult to look at your past without the urge to turn tail and go the opposite direction. Many times, without even realizing it, we start something new, move to a new town, distract ourselves with retail therapy, or a variety of other avoidance techniques. Whatever the degree of your escape, you’re running from your problems and discomfort and believing that if you just ignore or turn your back on them, they’ll just fade away. It’s not bad to distract yourself momentarily, but the problem comes in when you believe that you’re progressing toward leaving something behind for good by doing it. 

The first step in putting something behind you and pursuing your dreams is working through those past issues. If you can be honest and vulnerable, and do the work, you can release that pain and let it float away like a balloon floats up into the sky. 

Here’s why it doesn’t work to run away.

It’s the easy way out, and it’s temporary

It may temporarily ease the discomfort, but eventually, you’re back to where you were. Distracting or momentarily running away isn’t a solution, but a temporary coping mechanism to help you forget what you’re working hard to avoid. 

Wherever you go, there you are

Running away doesn’t get you further from your problems, it just gets you further from you

The longer you avoid dealing with your past pain, the more you begin to believe that it’s part of you and will never go away. It doesn’t do you any good to kick the can down the road if by doing so, the belief gets further grooved in and becomes part of who you are. That leads to other bad thoughts and eventually a lack of motivation.

Your problems are still there

It’s obvious that by running away you’re not solving your problems, but you may feel that something positive is happening because you can forget the pain for a short time. It doesn’t last, of course, and all you’ve done is rob yourself of another day that you could have used for your real healing and putting all this behind you.

There’s power on the other side of the pain

Just like we know that getting a painful cavity taken care of with a dreaded and painful dentist visit is worth it, we have to believe that the ugly unraveling of our painful past will be worth it too. There is so much to be gained from putting our guard down and revealing the ugliest parts of ourselves to the light of day. Once you do it, you not only feel like a weight has been lifted, but it might inspire you to expose and unravel more, giving you a great sense of power and control over your life.

You eventually become afraid to do something new

Staying mired in a certain mindset of failure or hopelessness can make you fearful of trying something new or pursuing your dreams. It will feed into any insecurity you already have about yourself and magnify it. That will put those insecurities top of mind and they will smother out any chance you have of being open to and hopeful about new things. Dealing with your insecurities about your past will actually clear your mind thus clearing valuable space for new ideas and dreams to be born.

The healing is somewhere between stuck and running

We convince ourselves that certain things are binary choices. In the case of healing from your past, the options are not limited to staying stuck or running away from it. It’s a process to get unstuck, and it could be a slow one, but baby steps are movement. Those steps will inch you closer to making a change while your vulnerability opens the door to healing. As you resolve things, you become stronger. From that stronger point, if you choose to make a move, you’re moving toward a place you want to be, rather than just moving away from what torments you.

You become detached and isolated

The less we think of ourselves, the more we tend to isolate ourselves from others. After all, who wants to be around someone who is messed up and stuck? We believe that we will become a burden to anyone we’re around, or that we bring our dark cloud of doom everywhere we go, so what’s the point? While we all need time to be alone, sometimes it can confirm our belief that our situation is hopeless and can’t ever be changed. Pushing yourself to be around people, share your story, ask them about their lives, and sharing can be just the remedy to lift yourself out of your self-isolation. 

Unresolved problems become land mines in your life. You’ll become paralyzed to move for fear of an explosion. Running doesn’t rid you of them, but only causes you to live in fear. You need to deactivate them, then you can make your moves. 

There are no shortcuts or avoidance techniques that will work when it comes to resolving your past demons and insecurities. You need to be honest, identify them, and do the hard work.

The only way out is through. Your life is waiting.