Inertia - Nº91
How to stop running from problems
And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.
― Haruki Murakami
The best way out is through. Because to run from any problem is to only increase the distance from the solution. All of us have moments of weakness, when we feel that despite working hard and doing everything right, somehow, the universe works harder against us and finds pleasure in making the going very difficult. But problems are thrown at us because it weeds out the majority who, until they figure out the lesson being taught, do as expected and put things off or run away. Our problems are lessons. And other people’s problems we see are hints at what to do, or what not to do.
The surreal is enjoying something of a revival. Being reborn, resolved, reshaped. Personal transformation is in going beyond the self and solving problems, making our pieces fit in an elegant, often imperfect, solution.
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Growing up, I struggled to realise that you needn’t be exceptional to be capable of solving any problem or living a low-stress life (I say low-stress because it’s frankly impossible to live stress-free). Life already comes with an overwhelming sense of expectation: the expectation that you’ll eventually become great at what you do. The best, in some eyes. Over the course of my formative years, I internalised these unhealthy expectations and standards as my own. The obsession with accomplishment, accolades, pointless knowledge, status, wealth, possessions… it is quite empty at its roots. People use these symbols to avoid showing that problems exist behind the scenes, to make it seem like they aren’t running from anything.
Cultivating my own version of success and finding the means to attain that through modes which speak to my soul were some of the most meaningful parts to me of navigating the beginning of adulthood. But for this to happen, I had to tell myself: “Don’t give up on those impulses. It is guiding you well”.
Running from your problems is a race you will never win. When we don’t see results, after a little effort, we tend to bury the problem, hoping to get away from it because we haven’t paid it any attention—and put the blame on circumstances, or people.
It works temporarily, as the blame is now on something beyond us—so we think. We say it is beyond our control, and this gives us a sense of relief. A feeling that we escaped the danger we could have been in, a sense of optimism. But one day, no matter how long it’s been, or how far away you are, you are going to have to deal with them; you are going to have to fix them. And it is your responsibility alone.
“We are to learn about fear, not how to escape from it”
— J. Krishnamurti
I’ve seen people spend decades affected by the same problem. It kills you slowly while adding collateral damage to those around you. In that sense, running from your problems can be a needlessly selfish act. Imagine it as another version of you, holding it all in. You cannot run from yourself as you are always right there. When you run, you are both leaving those you love behind with your problems; and in another world, you are a thousand miles away from the people who love you, and your problems will still be behind you—except now you will have nobody there to help you.
What is needed, rather, is for you to watch your problems, learn about them, come directly into contact with them.
Secondly, never blame anyone in your life. Good people give you happiness; bad people give you experience. The worst people give you a lesson, and the best give you memories.
You’ll always have to face yourself, and the longer you leave your problems, the harder they are to overcome. As Einstein once said, we can’t solve our problems using the same mindset we used when we created them. Running is often an easier way to cope, but at times, that’s how we got the problem in the first place.
No matter how uncomfortable you feel, it’s better to stay and persevere even when it’s difficult. Irrespective of who or what you must face, solve your fears and worries by starting on the inside and identifying your best angle for battle. Sit down often, pause, reflect, and then act. Don’t pity yourself or pass the blame. Your dreams should drive you, not your problems.
Until next time,
P.S: I’d like to know your thoughts on this format, where I stick to one story. You can reply to this email if you like it or prefer that I stick to the usual one.