My “escape hatch” has always been California. That’s right, the state of California. I’ve always fantasized about picking up and moving there when life got tough. If I thought something might not work out, be it a relationship or a career move, I’ve comforted myself with a secret plan to leave town, move to California and never look back. Something about this thought soothes me.
We all go through times when we wish we could find an easy way out. For example, have you found yourself wanting a “fast forward” button to push that would propel you into the future so you could bypass the pain you are experiencing? Our nature as humans wants to move away from any discomfort as quickly as possible. This is known as escapism or denial. Ironically, if we are indeed able to temporarily escape or keep ourselves in denial, we prolong our suffering. Sometimes we can even get “stuck” in the suffering.
Chronic escapism or denial can also lead to addictions. It is essential that we deal consciously and clearly with the difficult circumstances of our lives. The more we are able to do this without an escape hatch, the quicker we will move through the situation, learn valuable lessons, and experience personal growth.
When we realize that the only way out of our situation is to move through it, we can begin to face life with courage and resolve. There is purpose and valuable lessons to be found in our uncomfortable circumstances. In the long run, facing our difficulties head on is actually the least painful way to go through life. Remember, you are not alone and you are exactly where you need to be.
Stacey Wald, LAPC, RD