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“Are you running away from something?” he asked me.
Not a common question to hear in a job interview; this guy had either no decency at all or simply the balls to go into this personal terrain. I didn’t know if he was just being curious or if he actually wanted to help me explore my feelings. Which would still be kind of odd because, I mean, it was a job interview and not a therapy session.
I was completely taken aback. I didn’t know what to answer. I could only think: “How dare he ask me this! It’s my own f*cking business.”
With my CV plentiful of job experiences from different countries (Australia, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland), I knew that people were always impressed by how much I’ve travelled or the fact that I lived in other countries for years.
“That’s the best thing to do while you’re young: Go out there and see the world.”—I’ve heard that a lot. So, I told this guy: “No, I’m not running away.” I said it with such a look on my face that I was no longer sure if it was completely true.
But then I said, “I always liked to travel and go to new places. The world is so big, there is so much to see, and we don’t have forever, you know.” As far as I could tell, he was satisfied with my answer.
But, I wasn’t.
I’ve always loved travelling. I’ve always loved going somewhere without a plan. I’ve always loved being adventurous. I’ve been happy that I’ve had the privilege and the boldness to do all this. But after that question, I had this gut feeling that some of my adventures may have started only because I wanted to run away from certain situations. I just never wanted to admit it.
On the way home after the job interview, my inner voice repeated the question to me, “Are you running away from something? Well, from what? If you don’t know, I don’t know either.” Inner dialogue at its finest. Maybe it was my own protection mechanism that stopped painful things from coming up because, if they did, I would be the one who would have to deal with them.
But then I thought, well, it must be important if I can’t let go of the thought. Apparently, my subconscious mind wants me to explore further. So, let’s explore. Spain will have to wait, I told myself—my next stop will, therefore, be the depths of my soul.
Here is what I’ve been doing to tackle hidden emotions and suppressed pain:
I started to write in a diary again. It’s such a good tool for decluttering your mind space–Marie Kondo 2.0. You can catch your thoughts better and explore them easier when they are written down on paper in front of you. And most importantly, you get them out of your head, which always feels good and relieving.
After you get rid of the old issues that were stored for years, hidden in the back of your mind, you will have space for new and better thoughts. I consciously chose to start dealing with emotional pain and the past—facing it. That’s the first step. It may not only be past relationships or breakup issues that are hidden deep down, it may be childhood issues that trigger you and you never knew you had them—a lot of us simply don’t want to see them.
I wrote in my diary: Was I running away? If so, when was the first time? And below that, I wrote: Why?
I started my answer with, “If I’m really being honest…” to remind myself that whatever I wrote down next had to be a true reflection.
Let your intuition lead you, and just spill it. When you allow your thoughts to flow and tell your mind you seek the answer to a question that is boiling over inside you—you will get what you asked for.
Be honest, and forgive yourself.
This is a hard one. But I promise you, once you admit the truth to yourself, it is easier to admit it to others.
I was also driven by the following quote:
“Running away from your problems is a race you’ll never win. You cannot heal what you refuse to face. Facing your problems is what makes you strong.”
It would be best if all of us dealt with our emotional ballast and we didn’t let it get heavier or try to repress it over the years. I am sure we would not run out of storage space, but still, it’s not healthy. All of us are constantly learning, growing, and evolving. We don’t do everything right the first time around. That’s what mistakes and lessons are for. So, we have to remember this:
“Do the best you can. And then, once you know better, do better.” ~ Maya Angelou
Admit it to others.
Once you’ve admitted the things that you didn’t want to see for a long time to yourself, the next step is much easier. Saying it out loud to a close friend is such a relief. I felt like I was making peace with my past mistakes. It felt good. The real work could begin.
Follow your intuition.
What do I feel I need to do in order to move on?
What do I feel I need to do in order to let this stuff go?
If you feel like you need to do some inner child work, go ahead. If you feel like you need to go back to a place and make peace there, go do that. If you feel like doing this in your imagination is enough, do that. If you feel like you need to write everything down and burn it, go for it. Whatever it is, you will know best.
Shake it out.
It’s uncomfortable at first, but you have to breathe through it. The important thing here is that in order to let things go completely, we need to do it on the mind level as well as the body level. We have to move old energy out of our physical body.
Try the Kundalini Shaking Mediation; it’s helpful, even though it may feel awkward at first, but c’mon no one is watching. You are doing this for you!
Leave it behind.
So, I was running away. More than once. I discovered things that I never expected to be my reasons why. I accepted them. I also accepted that deep down I always knew I was running, but I denied it. I forgave myself, and released it.
I honestly believe that, in the end, running away from unresolved pain made me become a better person. I got to see new places. I got to meet great people, and I made a bunch of incredibly awesome memories, which I wouldn’t have made otherwise. But I couldn’t run from the pain.
The core of my being always wanted to heal everything inside of me. Everyone does, I guess. But, sometimes we don’t know how. Sometimes, we are not ready to face ourselves. Everyone has issues, but not everyone deals with them. I am sure that if I wouldn’t have chosen to run away and travel, I would probably still be stuck and not living up to my full potential.
I wouldn’t have been able to resolve any of my suppressed pain. If I wouldn’t have been running away in the first place, I wouldn’t be the same person that I am today. I wouldn’t be someone who wants to face their sh*t and let it go completely. I wouldn’t be someone who is constantly working on herself to become the best version she can be. I wouldn’t be someone who loves herself.
So yeah, I am glad I was running away from pain and unresolved issues; back then it was the best option I knew. I knew it would lead me toward something better. Healing takes time, patience, and bravery; it takes mistakes that lead to a better understanding of the bigger picture in the end.
As long as you stop running away at some point, it’s not a bad thing. Go see the world and collect your tools. Because the thing is, we need to be ready for healing—it won’t work otherwise.