Facing reality

To face anything head-on is a challenge. Whether it is that tough talk with a friend, loved one, or even a colleague. Or whether it is asking for something from just about anyone. Or facing a truth we would much rather avoid.

Most of us are pretty good at postponing such things. We want to avoid confrontations, with others and with ourselves.

Confrontations are unpleasant. It could be something as simple as looking at your stovetop and facing the fact that it is overdue for a cleaning. For a few days, we look at it and think to ourselves that it’s still usable and we’ll do the cleaning as soon as we have a spare moment. It doesn’t feel urgent, and as long as the stovetop can be used without leaving us feeling disgusted, the issue isn’t really there.

Until the day we shudder looking at it and using it one more time before cleaning it becomes unacceptable.

A silly example, perhaps, but representative of so many other things we put off because they don’t sufficiently disgust us or have become unsustainable or unacceptable.

What about that flaky friend who is always suggesting that we do something but never committing to anything specific? They only check in with us when it suits them, but as soon as we check to see if they are available, they make excuses or even accuse us of monopolizing their time.

Facing the reality that this person may not actually be our friend or at least, not a very good friend, is difficult, especially when we are of the forgiving kind and want to believe that we wouldn’t choose such people to befriend, to begin with.

Not only do we have to face the fact that we may lose someone we somehow care about despite their unreliable behavior, but also that we didn’t make a good choice in befriending them at all.

Or what about asking for that raise that is not only overdue but that you definitely deserve and that was even agreed upon, but nothing has happened since then? Here the battle is one we fight against ourselves because we may not wish to appear demanding or simply find it unpleasant to address the issue of a pay rise. It seems ridiculous because we are only asking for something we are due.

Another example is our reluctance to face any sort of debt we might have. It seems to speak to financial irresponsibility or bad money management skills. Something none of us would be happy to admit to.

Any debt we accrue is always our fault, right? We signed up for that credit card and kept using it. Do you look at your credit card bills when they arrive? Do you pay the minimum rate to pay off your debt or do you have a better plan? Does it make you feel guilty to use the card again despite the debt you have already accrued?

Whatever it is that we are trying to avoid (and often it is probably multiple things at once), sooner or later we must face reality. We must face that unreliable friend and potentially walk away from them. We must face our debt and tackle it actively. We must ask for that raise because we deserve it. Or we simply must bloody well clean up that stupid stovetop to exert some sort of control over this chaotic life we juggle every single day.

It may very well be a daily struggle to keep doing just that. But the truth is, not facing the reality of bad friends, debt, dirty stovetops, or whatever else we are avoiding has consequences that are simply unacceptable. Because debt will continue to grow, dirt could eventually make us sick and bad friends are bad for our mental and emotional well-being.

Confronting those realities one at a time will never be a pleasant experience, but ignoring any of them will make things infinitely worse in the long run.

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