Episode 019 – Show Notes
Escaping reality, and not dealing with your life might work for a while, but eventually it catches up to you. The longer you wait, the longer you ignore what’s really bothering you, the worse it will get. Join me today as we discuss how to get on track, deal with what’s bothering you and find solutions to your problems.
Today On Expand Your Life Podcast
- Becoming aware of your crutches.
- What are you escaping from?
- Does putting off dealing with something make it better or worse?
- If you don’t like something in your life start spending time figuring out how to change it.
- Learn some steps you can take to deal with your problems effectively
- Recognize the problem
- Take ownership in your part of the problem
- Is there a quick fix?
- Recognize the pattern
- Find your solution
- Take action (stop avoiding)
Welcome to Expand Your Life Podcast. This is Jc Jones and you’re listening to episode 19. Welcome back everyone. I hope you had a great New Year’s. Today, we’re going to discuss question #14 of the Self Awareness Workbook. The question is, what activities do I engage in to escape reality?
How are you escaping reality? What things do you do to keep yourself from thinking? Keep yourself from doing? To stay in your comfort zone?
As a kid, I used to daydream a lot and read books to escape from the reality that was my life. As I got older, the things I used to change how I felt and the things that kept me from thinking and dealing with what I didn’t like about my life changed a little bit.
I still did a bit of daydreaming and a whole lot of reading, but I added in things like watching TV, having a drink in the evening after work, to relax and take the edge off. I used food to change how I felt. These things kept me relatively happy, but just in the moment. It never lasted very long.
These things kept me from having to think and deal with the things in my life that either stressed me out or from things that I needed to make decisions on, things that I was afraid to deal with. I thought that this is what life looked like. I thought this was how life was. I was miserable all day at work until I could come home in the evening and veg out on TV or a good book. And the things I was using to numb out or escape worked for a time until they didn’t.
I was 29, and 30 was fast approaching. And I’m pretty sure I had an early midlife crisis that year. All of a sudden, all these things that were working before keeping me relatively comfortable in my life and keeping me relatively satisfied with the status quo no longer worked.
I was getting more and more miserable with my life more and more stressed out. Having more and more anxiety attacks. And I started questioning where my life was. I couldn’t avoid it anymore. I felt like I really didn’t have anything to show for my life. Here I was almost 30 years old, but where was I?
I started to realize I had spent my life doing nothing. Not growing, not moving forward, just staying safe. In debt, not making enough money to even pay my bills. I was in an awful relationship, unhealthy, overweight. I didn’t even have enough ambition to do much with my appearance. I felt like crap about myself. I had absolutely no self-esteem whatsoever, and I saw no way out. I felt stuck.
So did I make any changes to my life? No, not right away. Instead, I found something else to temporarily give me the ability to once again escape for my reality. And that was calling my sister up once a week or so to complain. Complain about my life, complain about my relationship, complain about everything. And I would get off the phone with her and I would feel better.
So I did this for quite a few weeks actually. Until one day, when she had finally had enough of listening to me, she said, stop bitching about your life and start doing something to change it. You call me bitching about the same things over and over. If you don’t like how your life is, then change it. And if you’re not going to do anything to change it, stop bitching about it.
Her words just blasted in my mind. Change it. If you don’t like it, change it. Why the heck had I not thought of that? It seemed so simple. But I had been so focused on the problems in my life that I couldn’t even see the obvious. Just change it.
Not only that, but this wasn’t a sister that was on older sister or any kind of authority figure that I looked up to. This sister was 11 years my junior. She was the baby of the family. I was 29 when we had this conversation, almost 30, which means she was only 18 going on 19. So it was quite a shock to my system.
I had always been the older sister. I had always been the one that everybody came to for advice. And here my baby sister was telling me to stop bitching about my life and start making changes. It was very humbling, to say the least. But I think it was more effective because it did come from her.
After I got over my shock and embarrassment from being called out by my baby sister, I realized that she was right. And this was probably one of the most pivotal moments of my life.
I realized I was blaming everything and everyone around me for how my life looked. For how I felt. I was focusing so much and dwelling so much on all my problems instead of trying to find a solution. When in reality my life looked the way it did because of my inability to act. My inability to face my problems and figure out a solution.
I had spent so much time burying my head in the sand, not wanting to deal with my life, that I had created a huge mess. I had created my own hell.
So what did I do after this? Well, I took things a little bit to the extreme, And it worked for me. Looking back, it worked great. I changed everything about my life. Everything I didn’t like about my life, I changed it. Everything that had caused me to feel depressed or anxious, I dealt with it. I got rid of or found a solution for it.
It was like a light had switched on for me. I was completely ruthless. I didn’t let myself think about it because I knew if I thought too long about something, I would talk myself out of it. Fear would set in, keep me for making the changes that I wanted to make, so I didn’t think about it. I just acted.
Every single thing. My job, my relationship, the clothes I wore, my hair, my diet, my finances. I dealt with it all. It took some time. Some things were very quick, but I started looking for solutions. It completely changed how I view my life.
After making those changes and finding solutions, it gave me more confidence because I saw that I could actually do it. And the more I did, the more confident I got. And over the years, I’ve gotten, a lot quicker in recognizing when I start using things to escape.
So how do I do this? Well, for me, whenever I start feeling a different way for any length of time, I know that that is a sign that I need to check in and see what’s going on. If I ever think” I need a drink,” that’s another sure sign. If I get depressed, or start having anxiety attacks or feel stressed out, or if I start complaining about anything, I know that I need to sit down and figure out what’s going on.
So what are my go to steps for this? Number one is to figure out the problem. Figure out why I am starting to revert back to using things to escape how I feel or escape from my life. What is the problem that I’m not wanting to deal with? Sometimes it’s something that’s been on my mind for a while, so it’s easy to figure out.
Sometimes if it’s one that I don’t really know for sure what’s causing the problem, I’ll have what I call a quiet time. Where I go somewhere with a pen and paper where it’s quiet and just start writing. Start writing about everything that’s bothering me, the feelings I’m having.
This creates a real good evaluation of where I’m at. I can pretty much tell by how much crap I write on the paper, my mental and emotional state at the time. And somewhere in that writing I’ll discover what the underlying problem really is.
And once I discover what the problem is, I try to recognize if it was something that was preventable, if I screwed up and made some bad decisions or bad choices and it affected an area of my life. Taking ownership of that part of the problem is important so that you can learn from it. Learn what not to do in the future.
If it’s something more along the lines of relational problems or something that’s not completely in your control, still take ownership of whatever part you had in it. If you’re having marital problems, figure out what part of that you need to take ownership of.
And then ask yourself you know, is there quick fix to this? If it’s something pretty simple, fix it. Don’t wait. The longer you wait, the worse problems normally get. If you’re late on a bill, call the company. Don’t wait. A lot of times we don’t want to deal with it, so we don’t call. And then that makes it even more difficult because the company thinks we’re just losers that don’t pay their bills. But if you call and you show that you’re aware of the problem and you want to figure out a solution, to it, they’re going to be more willing to work with you.
Ignoring any problem only makes it worse. If there’s not a quick fix to the problem, figure out what you do need to do to fix it. What is the solution to this problem? There is always a solution.
Sometimes if you can’t see a solution, call a friend and talk it over with them. Sometimes just the process of talking over an issue will help you see the solution. And someone else’s perspective of the problem helps.
So the biggest things that I always try to remember when I’m feeling like I’m starting to avoid life or avoid problems or avoid situations, I first ask myself what the problem is.
Evaluate whether or not there’s a quick fix to it. If not, I try to find a solution to it. I stop avoiding it.
I take action and I realize, you know, no matter what it is, everything’s a learning experience. No matter what happens in your life, you never should put yourself down or make yourself feel less than or feel like a failure because it’s all about learning.
All these things that happen in our lives and the mistakes we make and the areas of our lives where we seem to have to keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again. They’re a learning lesson. Take the lesson. See the lesson. Many times, if you actually see the lesson and notice it and see the learning in it, you tend to stop making the same mistakes. That repetitive, making the same mistakes over and over again stops happening.
So no matter what happens, learn the lesson. And don’t beat yourself up over it. And remember, avoiding doesn’t solve anything. Get into the habit of recognizing what you use to avoid or escape reality and take the action that you need to take in order to change whatever it is that makes you feel like you need to avoid it. Everything is figureoutable.
Don’t let your fear or limiting thoughts talk you out of making positive changes to your life. You can do it. If I can do it, you can do it.
Well that about wraps it up for today. Next week we’ll be finishing the Self Awareness Workbook. There are actually two more self-awareness questions in the workbook, but we’re going to talk about them both at the same time.
Question #15 is, How good am I at letting things go? and question 16 is, How do I cope with stress in my life?
So think about those questions this week. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast so you’ll get updates and notifications when new episodes are released. Have a great week.
Bye for now.
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Thanks for tuning in to this weeks episode of Expand Your Life Podcast. Join me again next week where we will be discussing the questions: How good am I at letting things go? and How do I deal with stress?
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