Running Away From Life …Or Not
Imagine you have found yourself drinking or smoking too much. Or consider that you have realized that the people you surround yourself with are not necessarily the kind that enrich your inner life. Or that you eat far too much and far too poorly, and never or rarely exercise.
In all of these instances, you would instantly know how you could make improvements. What I’d like to tackle in this article is a factor that has a major impact on your life – on a more internal level – and yet, that internal level, impacts so much else (such as the above) on external levels.
Running away from life is what I call a lack of engagement with – and interest in - your inner self. It is generally based on fear of what you may find, as well as having its deepest roots in a lack of self love, because it is self-love that encourages you – even pushes you - towards that inner voyage.
You might think that running away from life has more to do with social shyness or timidity in going out and getting something you want. Certainly, that is also part of it, but my opinion is that this latter running away is based more on what is not working in the former description of running away – that lack of engagement with your inner self. And yes, there are many, many people who are fully engaged in an outer life, and not at all in an inner life, but frequently in such cases the outer is used as a kind of bullet-proof vest to protect them from the inner quest – especially the fears it provokes when they think about it.
Remember, engaging with the self means truly getting to know the self, along with all its nastiness, messiness, and just plain dysfunctionality, to mention only a few. But it also means coming to know your inner richness, and greatness, your inner potential, and all that you could become, if only you take yourself down that road.
The little voice
You might consider the little voice you sometimes – perhaps even often – hear that tells you that there is something more to life than how you are currently experiencing it. Some listen to the voice and begin to take some steps – even if they are baby steps, but many ignore it due to the perennial fear that sets in when they contemplate looking at the self. They become so adept at ignoring the little voice, that at some point in their lives, they truly no longer hear it. Or they misunderstand its meaning, and reach for some food, a cigarette, or a beer. Perhaps a calamitous event brings the voice back, chaos and destruction of some kind in their lives, the loss of an important relationship, illness, death of a loved one, loss of a job, security, or prestige, but not even that always works. It can be a wake-up call for some – even an epiphany – but often it is simply looked at as bad luck, fate, or something else that allows the person to continue avoiding the look inside.
So what can you do – whether or not you are conscious of hearing the little voice – in order to promote a greater engagement with your life on all those levels?
Things you can do
Here, in no particular order, are some of the most crucial things you can do in order to move closer to your life – your inner and outer life – as opposed to running away from it:
- Use a method that works for you to become conscious and aware all the waking hours of your day. Mindfulness is an excellent tool.
- As you become more aware, use everything that crosses your path to grow. Here are two simple examples:
- You’re impatient with that co-worker? Learn to become more patient (which doesn’t mean he doesn’t need to step up to the plate in his task).
- You’re jealous of your partner? Learn to understand that your jealousy stems from a lack of self-confidence and self-security, which is related to a lack of self-love. Also learn, that should your partner deliberately engage in behaviour that creates jealousy in you, while YOU are responsible for your own feeling, it is perhaps necessary to ask yourself why you are with such a partner, and this may be related to poor boundaries.
- As you become more aware, learn to use self-dialogue to gradually be in charge of knee-jerk reactions. This is part of the path to emotional maturity. Use self-dialogue to self-regulate your thoughts, emotions, actions, and reactions.
- Understand that being aware means observing yourself at all times. At the beginning this may seem to be analysis paralysis, but you will find that very quickly it moves into the background, and becomes automatic in your day. The more you observe yourself, the more you employ self-dialogue to talk to yourself about whatever it is that is happening and the manner in which you are reacting to it, the more you will have yourself in hand in such a way that your inner well-being grows exponentially.
And that is the crux of the matter when you engage fully in your life and self, without running away from any of it: your inner well-being, and your Inner peace and harmony. These are meant to be present at every moment of every day, no matter what the outer circumstances.
You may believe this to be an impossible quest, but I promise you, not only is it possible, but it is possible very quickly, if you apply yourself to the matter.