“The best way out is always through.” – Robert Frost
Life can be complicated, unpredictable and sometimes just hard. Being married has its own set of issues as well as being single, and when you add children, (young or older) work life scenarios and family dynamics to the mix it can get even more complex. At times things can become overwhelming, where our only option seems as if we should run for the hills and hide out. I have been there and I am certain that you have as well, but through the years of learning lessons, understanding my triggers and gathering more insight on my on level of emotional intelligence, the consistent thing or good advice I have received has been to work through it.
Now because I am kind of an analytical personality, I cannot just use that term without also giving an explanation of what it actually looks like. After all, it is the question that I would ask or demand more clarity if someone were to drop that phrase on me. So what does “working through it” actually look like? I will give a few examples of what it is for me and what it is not to help describe it in more detail.
1. Take an unbiased stance on what the situation is. – When we decide to truly work through something, we need clarity of thought and mind, so having an unbiased view is essential. That said, we will probably need a trusted friend to help us navigate through what we cannot see due to our natural prejudices.
2. Develop a game plan to move through it. – Nothing really works well without a plan, so once we understand the real issue, now it is time to make it happen. This process may include quiet time for reflection, counseling, prayer, journaling, hard conversations and much more, but however you choose to move through it, the various stages are necessary for an effective outcome.
3. Do the work. – This is the hard part. Now is the time to put action to our words. Expect to fall several times before you get it right, but keep working through until you begin to see change. Keep in mind the change you are looking for lies in you, not someone else. That’s the challenging part. The actual work has many levels. There may be a season where you are only focusing on your childhood. Then you may move to your past relationships or dramatic situations that require a deeper look on your decision-making skills during that time. The key in this stage is to face yourself and bring reality into why you are, who you are.
4. Analysis and Self Evaluation. – This is not a time for self-judgement, although it will be easy to do. Be careful not to simply come down on yourself during this time. Sure there will be many issues that may come to the surface that point directly to you, but so what. This whole process is not to blame yourself. Taking responsibility is one thing, but blaming should not be the focus or objective. You may come to a point where deeper work beyond your means is essential. Hopefully you will be able to continue down that path and receive the help you need.
5. What it is Not. – The one thing I can say “working through it” is not, is to over simplify the process or issue. Quick fixes that neglect the core issues only perpetuate the problem. When we fail to address the real matters of the heart we only set ourselves up for future failure. Now is not the time for surface work. We must choose to go deep, but if we are not ready, it is better to understand that and wait until we are. Otherwise we are wasting our time, seeking results for something we have not yet properly invested in.
I am not the expert in this area, but I am a man who has seen and experienced his share of turmoil. Some self-inflicted and some not, but I am committed to myself in such a way that I will never be satisfied with surface results. I want to better understand why I do what I do. In some cases it will be fairly obvious and in other times it will take much more work. I am committed to doing the work. It has become a part of my life journey and I am better for it.