Why Ignoring Your Problems Won’t Make Them Go Away

Numbers, algorithms, coordinates, and statistics are not my cup of tea, but words…now they’re another story. Some people see things in black and white, Not me. I like to color my world with words and make connections and comparisons through them.

This is why when I recently came across the words “You can’t get away from yourself by moving from one place to another” in “The Sun Also Rises” by Ernest Hemingway it was as if the words lifted off the page, planted themselves in my head, and painted a picture.  In the book, the protagonist Jake Barnes tries to “get away from himself” and his previous experiences in the war and his relationships.

While there are different interpretations to this quote, I’d like to give my thoughts about it here. Please stick around while I explain. 

Ignorance is Not Bliss

Sometimes we think if we just keep moving, just keep working, just keep buying, just keep drinking, or just keep ignoring them we can avoid dealing with our problems. This couldn’t be more wrong!

We ignore little problems like power washing the mold off our house or flossing our teeth to take care of those sore gums. Now consider the ignoring we do about those big emotionally packed problems that arise in our life. Problems like: splintered relationships, abuses, hurtful words, misdeeds, misunderstandings, undeserved criticisms, bashed reputations, and fractured friendships. 

Ignoring these kinds of problems gives them POWER OVER YOU and KEEPS YOU WEAK and in bondage to them. Since the problem has never been dealt with, negative emotions and feelings (anger, frustration, feelings of abandonment, feelings of unworthiness, depression) can rise up at their whim. 

Those emotions can feel like a scab that won’t heal. The scab looks awful, it’s painful, and if it’s not taken care of it will never heal. Emotionally packed problems are the same way. They look awful, they’re painful, and if you don’t take care of them they’ll never heal. They win. You lose. Think of it this way:

The Problem is POWERFUL and You are weak.

It’s Time For You to Feel Large and In Charge

Stopping and facing the emotionally packed problem head-on gives YOU BACK THE POWER. 

Have you ever heard of the Scarlett O’Hara syndrome (SOHS)? You probably haven’t because I made it up a few years ago. 😊 When I do coaching calls with clients who haven’t addressed some of their past problems we discuss SOHS. We work together to get to the root of the problems by talking about them-not ignoring them. 

Scarlett was an expert ignorer. This was especially evident in the last scene of “Gone With the Wind” when Rhett utters those famous “Franky, my dear, I don’t give a damn” words followed by Scarlett’s “Oh where shall I go? What shall I do?…I can’t think of it now. I’ll think about it tomorrow” words. It’s one of my favorite scenes. I hope you’ll watch it! 

I had SOHS. I used to be the queen of ignoring my painful emotionally packed problems. I was really good at “thinking about them tomorrow”. For years I struggled with an eating disorder, low self-esteem, and negative self-talk. Instead of getting to the root of where all these destructive behaviors and thoughts were coming from I chose instead to ignore them. Consequently, my personal life suffered. I had zero confidence in myself and my marriage was coming apart. My problems were powerful and I was weak. 

My “wake-up call” came in the form of counseling and a business opportunity that came my way. Both were “the thing” that forced me to take a good, hard look at myself. I learned to get out of my comfort zone. For the first time ever I learned to truly get focused, I learned to become assertive, I developed confidence, I made friends, I learned leadership skills and finally started believing in myself. All of this would have never happened had I continued to ignore my problems. 

Take the Power Back

Here are a few things I personally did to take back the power in my life. If you’re suffering from SOHS, I think they may help you too.

  1. Acknowledge The Problem. No more acting like nothing is wrong. It’s time to acknowledge you’ve got a problem and do something about it. Name the problem. Say it out loud. Tell a companion. Talk about it. Give it substance. Bring it out in the open. Make it real. 
  2. Feel the Problem. Let the problem sink in. When did it start? Where did it start? How did it start? What feelings are associated with it? How is it damaging your relationships? If the problem was addressed and “put to bed once and for all” what kind of person would you be? Get angry that it’s taken your power from you and made you weak. 
  3. Release the Problem. It’s time to let the problem go once and for all and get on with your life. Sometimes doing something tangible will make the release more real. Consider grabbing a pen and paper and writing about the problem, how it’s held you back, stolen your joy, consumed you. Then burn the paper. While it’s in flames, say the words “you have no more power over me”. 
  4. Replace the Problem with New Feelings. Now that you’ve said “goodbye” to the problem, what new feelings can move in? Peace? Joy? Feelings of belonging? Confidence? Worthiness? Gratitude? 

Congratulations! The Problem is now weak and You are now POWERFUL. 

You were created to use your gifts and talents to bring value to those around you. You can’t live fully and do this if you continue to ignore your problems. Don’t wait until life isn’t hard and those emotionally packed problems aren’t around before you decide to be happy. Deal with the problems NOW and get some peace. Deal with them LATER and let the unrest continue. The decision is yours. 

Got an emotionally charged problem that’s been nagging you for too long? Reach out to me. I’m a great listener and I’d love to help! 

Interested in joining me for a virtual book club? We’re getting ready to start reading and discussing a book over on Facebook in The Confident Woman Club and we’d love to have you join us. What is The Confident Woman Club? It’s a Facebook group where we try to empower women to be the best they can be in their personal life and in business. 

What’s Wrong With Being Confident? Absolutely Nothing. 

It’s time to take control of your thoughts, your actions, and your life. It’s time to live the life you know you’re meant to live. Want someone to come alongside you to coach you through some of the trials and unexpected events coming your way? I’d love to help! 

Click here for more information. 

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