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Are you Escaping again? it may be time to face yourself.

May 07, 2024
A picture of a person standing in solitude - facing themselves  - looking out in to the universe


The more you escape, the more you must face. 


“The one thing she keeps saying over and over again, is I should have never married you. Her mind seems to be caught up in something. I can’t figure it out. Can you help me understand?”


Was how one of the private conversations I had with Daniel began.


Daniel seemed to be convinced that his wife was regretting the decision to marry him, and that the whole thing seemed to be a mistake.


At the outset, that’s what it seems like, doesn’t it?


But the truth is far stranger and far deeper than that.


The thing is, there is within all of us a tendency to look over our shoulders, to see our past with the lens of what ifs, and what if nots.


This looking back and wishing things were different, is a particular tendency we can call Escapism.


Why do we love to escape?


Because escaping offers a possibility of experiencing an alternate reality capable of magically solving all our problems which we are struggling to find solutions for.


This tendency to avoid directly facing our reality now, and transporting our mind into a non-existent dimension of reality is greatly comforting to the mind.


Whether it’s practical, rational, sane, is irrelevant to us at that moment.


All we want is to escape, and therefore we create scenarios in our mind, fantasize in ways that allow us to cope with our grim reality. 


Where does this tendency come from?


I asked Daniel, “Do you know if this kind of talk is common in her family? Her mother or father, do they speak like this with each other?”


“Yes, absolutely they do, and a part of me has always been bothered by the way her parents talk to each other, even in front of me. I have personally heard this phrase, being said by her mom to her dad - "I should never have married you - even after 40 years of being married. But the fact that they are still married is sort of confusing to me.”


“Well then that’s your answer.”


To be sure, we aren’t explaining away harmful behavior.


We are putting it in the right context, and not trying to point a finger at someone at the same time.


This conditioning which we can receive from our parents, doesn’t just show up in relationships.


If escapism - such as wondering how life would have been different had we chosen a different partner, different career, not made a business decision, not moved to a certain city, not done this or that -  is not addressed, it convinces us that our life isn't going in the right direction, even though it may indeed be.


Escapism can force us to make wrong decision when that is the last thing we need. It can convince us to get a divorce, when in reality what we need is to have a open, honest and vulnerable conversation with our partner.


To be fair, sometimes separating is the answer, but it is always the very last resort. Not an easy out which we start considering when we have a big fight.


What we create, is what we learned.


If our parents did not practice self-restraint, self-awareness or even basic boundaries while expressing themselves in front of their children, which is us, they have unknowingly primed us to act in similar ways when we grow up.


If they escaped, wondered about having a different husband, or a wife openly in front of us, that’s what they have taught us to do, when we as adults, would face problems in our relationships.

We escape, in our relationships, because escapism has been (unconsciously) programmed into us by our parents.


It is time to defy that programming, and face your reality as it is. 


For reality isn’t going anywhere.


No matter how much you escape, you have to return back to the same reality.


Except, it might be worse now, because your previous response was to escape.


The more we escape, the more brutal the truth appears the next time we come face to face with it.


Regretting past decisions, guilt tripping ourselves over and over, or blaming someone else, are all ultimately forms of escapism, and avoiding responsibility.


Because regret and guilt don’t change a thing about us, anymore than blame and criticism changes another.


You may have made imperfect decisions in the past, but the only way to correct them is in the present.


Love the person who is in front of you fully.


Not someone else, but yourself.


Take care of your mental health.

Teach yourself how to meditate, journal (correctly, by writing insights or positive affirmations, not rehashing the past) and build your self-trust.


Directly face your present, by restricting your thoughts only to what's unfolding in your life right now, and find solutions after careful thinking, in the present.


If you begin to do so, your partner will follow suit. Eventually.

If we always wonder how things could have been different, the irony is, things always remain the same.


Changing our life situation - whether it is a difficult time in your relationship, or finding a new job, or whatever it is that you are going through - requires that you learn how to face that life situation, rather than running from it. 


You can do it, all you have to do is choose not to think incessantly about the unfairness of the past.


The past needs to be processed, yes. The unfairness needs to be understood, yes.


However, that unfairness in the past cannot be fixed in the past, it can only be fixed by being fair to yourself today.


And the only way to be fair to yourself, is to be fully here now.


To access your complete potential by giving your current life situation, your complete attention.


This is what it means to be a responsible adult.


This is what it means to mature.


No one is coming to save you. That…is a fact.


The more trust you put in you, the more innate strength you will find.


Your inner strength is like a gold mine that goes deeper the more you dig.


Start digging. Don’t stop.


The day you choose not to escape into easy solutions anymore, is the day you become strong.


I believe in you.


Stand your ground.


Face yourself.


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