Here’s a race you and I can’t win

February 10, 2024
“You can’t run from your past. You will end up running in circles. Until you fall back down into the same hole you were trying to escape from, only the hole’s grown deeper.” – Max Payne

Everyone has problems. But, if you don’t deal with them, you won’t be able to escape your past. You also can’t outrun the future. I find no shame if you have tried to run away from your past — it doesn’t make anyone less of a person. People always tell you to confront the problem and find ways to fix it. But are some issues unable to be fixed, or do you not want them fixed?

Some problems can be fixed by facing them, and some problems are made worse by facing them. Problems very rarely (if ever) fix themselves by ignoring them. Life is a gamble, and it depends on what that specific problem is. There’s little opportunity for growth if you run away from everything; sometimes, a few issues are inescapable.

Internal (personal) problems are different from external problems. If you get into a car accident, running away from that problem will lead to exponentially more significant problems. If you have a personal problem, like believing a conspiracy theory, you may be causing more problems by feeling people should believe you, thus creating more extensive problems. However, setting work, family, and relationship boundaries does not mean running away from problems. A lot of toxic relationships are never going to change, and you just need to walk away from them, which can mean breaking off contact with friends/family/loved ones.

Problems won’t solve themselves, and problems can’t be solved by sticking your head in the sand. The only guaranteed way to solve a problem is to address it. That being said, you shouldn’t aimlessly fight every uphill battle because, obviously, some situations are best left alone (aka walk away). However, dipping out whenever the going gets tough will not only let the problem fester but also allow problems to compound.

Every relationship takes two, and so you are at least partially part of problems in your life with family, partners, coworkers, or bosses. By facing and solving problems, you have completed a lesson of sorts that has a beginning, middle, and end — and created closure. If you run away at signs of trouble, you negate the chance to solve the problem (and fix the relationship if related to a relationship). This problem ends up in your past as something you ran from, and you can’t outrun your past. Additionally, because you didn’t put the work in for a better future, you could have developed a skill early on for handling problems rather than running away.

Failing gives you essential and valuable information. Even if you struggle with a roommate who doesn’t keep their living space clean and you have to struggle living with them, you learn a skill that will be useful in the future. You learn to pick your battles, how to confront an individual & have a difficult discussion, and when to move on. All of these skills are important to future relationships in the future.

Also, if you run away at the sign of trouble or problem(s), you may never learn your lesson if you were actually at fault. You then can repeat this same issue over and over again. For example, you may have an uncomfortable workplace situation with a co-worker where you spoke behind their back. You now need to earn their trust back while working with them (someone who isn’t happy with you). Even if you never repair the relationship, you learn a valuable lesson nevertheless.You know not to gossip due to the tremendous repercussions, such as making the workplace uncomfortable or even intolerable. You will be much less likely to repeat this same behavior that caused a problem(s).

If you keep running from your problems, those problems become your past. If you keep trying to outrun that past, you’ll never be able to live in the present. Look at all the baggage from the past that is weighing you down. Find a place for it all, realizing what’s in the past is past. You only have to bring with you what is in the present.

When you think of these past problems, don’t think you’ve moved on when you’ve only distracted yourself. You need to deal with the issue by sitting in the uncomfortable-ness and pain while trying to figure out why you feel the way you do. Make fundamental changes from there by moving forward. You never forget what happened, but you learn from it. By letting go of the past, you can be a better person in the present and enjoy it to the fullest.

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