Life. It seems like there is always something to deal with. Although it can feel bad it is how life is. We may not enjoy it or like it, but we must press on through the best way we know how. Sometimes we just need a new way. How each of us cope can vary and the options of how to cope has significantly changed in the past couple of decades. The online world has created a bit of an illusional respite where acceptance and coping can allow us to push things or people into the distance. The options to avoid life’s reality of issues have broadened considerably. The online existence can seem to make it easier in some ways and in others make even the smallest of challenges feel overwhelming and anxiety provoking. Especially in real life.
In the online world, we can like and follow what we prefer in most cases and not face things we don’t want to face. It enables us to ignore having the difficult conversation, address the challenge, to ignore and block, negativity, people, news, in order to stay in the most comfortable world we can create for ourselves. To some extent the value of relating between people has been reduced to the tap of a key or push of a button. It provides the freedom and opportunity to say what we want and paint a picture of what we want people to see. It also allows us to hide and thus create a stressor that we often don’t realize the devastating impact of. The fear of someone discovering our real world. The fear of people seeing the real us. I find this to be an increasing challenge for those I work with in my practice. In some cases even isolating.
While good vibes and positive energy is critical for well-being, sometimes life requires us to step up and do the right thing. Right by others, right by ourselves, right by social standards, right by the law, right by our culture, right by our faith, and right by whatever moral code we acknowledge. Perhaps the online world is rewriting some of those principles, but life is not often about being comfortable, it is about being real. Being in the moment, embracing what is, and addressing what needs to be addressed in an effective way. Not everything is going to feel good or be pleasing but avoidance is like keeping secrets. Not knowing when those will be told, seen, or exposed can become a burden emotionally and psychologically.
Unfortunately, no matter how we follow, unfollow, block, or take the perfect pictures the lessons and information that life has for us continue to find a way to us, somehow. It may take years or happen in a week, but those lessons are out there waiting to be handed over. Our power lies in choosing when to address or embrace them. Unlike pre-internet and social media where our neighbors, family, and friends were with us more in person, now we can hide in our offline world and not face or deal with whatever it is. To some extent the online world is taking away the important lessons of common courtesy, dignity, respect, resilience, communication, conflict resolution, and basic relating. We’re quicker to take offense, judge, or misunderstand than ever before.
We’re also quicker at letting stuff go, to scroll past life’s injustices rather than engage and try to resolve them. To not get involved. Although, some situations require us to distance ourselves due to the potential negative impact it could have on our well-being, it is important to distinguish between a healthy and unhealthy approaches that could result in an even more adverse impact later on.
Life inevitably has a way of forcing our hand sometimes. Not because we want to but because it is all we know to do in that moment in order to meet our needs. No matter how we ignore, no matter how we try to do the right thing and avoid conflict, to keep the peace, sometimes we must take a stand. If we don’t, others who come after may face the same or bigger challenges, or the person or situation at hand may escalate. It may even cause us to miss out on important relationships in life or have regrets later. At some point we will have to account for our choice either way. We must find a way to meet our need as well as create a better path for others. To give opportunity for others to experience their life fully. Sometimes we are the ones who must be the hand behind what is right. Maybe it's karma? We end up being the messengers of life’s lessons. As parents, friends, colleagues, associations, employees, or family. Learning how to be gentle in that process is a skill that may need some reviving.
Life presents its various options and we must choose. What we choose can depend on what we know, believe, and hope for but if that choice is hanging on potential discomfort, fear, or uncertainty. If it has been causing anxiety, sleepless nights, compromised means for livelihood, or others safety and rights, it may be time to stop avoiding it.
This Monday if you are finding yourself looking on the week with dread of something you must face and deal with. Something you have been avoiding. A heavy undercurrent of anxiety in some area of your life or a difficult choice or decision you must make, it may be time to examine what you value and your focus.
Not sure how to approach it? My recommendation is to seek unbiased, educated, confidential, and well-informed consultation. This can be anyone who IS NOT a friend, colleague, or family member. Someone who has no other agenda than to help you process and explore options for your situation. There are many different professionals out there who have experience in navigating life’s challenges whether you are facing a legal, physical, relational, emotional, or other life battle. Professionals that hold your confidence and rights in ethical and legal regard to protect you. Including counselors, psychologists, coaches, legal counsel, physicians, faith-based support, and social workers, there are many choices.
Rather than one more day or week of not knowing what to do, being stuck in your own mind of options, or getting pushed in different directions by family or friends, reach out to a professional. Take a stand for your peace of mind and find out what else is possible. Stop living in a world of avoidance. Stop worrying, complaining, or seething behind the online mask of life. Make the call, acknowledge the person (even yourself), explain your “why”, be accountable, send a response, ask for help, report the problem, take responsibility, get the lawyer, fight for what is right, forgive or ask to be forgiven, or make a decision to once and for all let that s**t go. There is always a choice. What will you do?