There’s an especially poignant scene in What About Bob? when the mercurial therapist, Dr. Marvin, tells the delusional patient, Bob, that he needs to take a “vacation” from his problems. Of course Bob takes the therapist literally, deciding to take an actual vacation, as if physically changing location could magically take care of his problems.
I laughed when I watched the movie and Bob shows up at the doctor’s vacation home to explain how amazing his “vacation from his problems” is going to be, because to me it was ludicrous to believe the way he did, and yet many people think this is the cure for what ails them. They go far away, thinking that when they return home their problems will be solved. Not so.
I understand the sentiment, though. It does seem easier to run when faced with what seem like insurmountable odds or issues that often derail us. It’s one of the reasons the divorce rate is so high. Instead of facing the problems in our relationships, we simply ditch the relationships, which we think solves the problems. Yet, when we don’t deal with those issues, when we don’t talk them out, we never realize why they were there in the first place and we are doomed to repeat them in future relationships.
The same is true of other issues. It’s honestly emotional sabotage when we practice avoidance as an art form. That’s one of the reasons psychiatrists are rolling in business. We can’t seem to talk to each other, so we lay our deepest problems out for strangers who get paid a lot of money to listen instead. Still more people simply lie when asked those tough questions they don’t want to deal with, and the vicious cycle continues.
It took me nearly three decades before I finally realized that running never solves anything, and even longer to get to a place where I don’t feel inadequate sharing my issues instead of running. But I have to admit that it’s still my first instinct, to get as far from my problems as I possibly can, and I have to force that instinct down every time it threatens to overcome me, to take me once again as its prisoner.
So, no, it’s not really easier to run, not when you will still have to deal with the consequences of your issues at some point anyway. That’s not saying that it ever gets easy to stand still and work through those issues. It’s always a fight, but in the end it is so much better for you, especially on an emotional level. One of these days you should try standing still, then look around you at all those others who are still running. Then smile.