“To dream the impossible dream,
To bear with unbearable sorrow,
To run where the brave dare not go,
To right the unrightable wrong(…),
To try when your arms are too weary,
to reach the unreachable star,
this is my quest.”

Don Quixote de La Mancha


Think about that issue or problem that has been around for a long time …

Now imagine what your life would have been like if you had already solved it …

We all have problems or issues we do not like to talk about (we tend to avoid them) or which we do not wish to confront (not even in our deepest thoughts); “Don’t even remind me of that,” “It’s not even worth talking about it…”; “I fear bringing it up”; “I know it makes me suffer, but to solve it, I would have to change my entire life.”

And so, we swallow up the bitter pill and endure the suffering (therefore increasing) the sorrow, the anger, the resentment, the anguish or the amount of unresolved past events. (indeed, the past is always solved … it is only emotionally unresolved.)

Accept, bite the bullet and bear the pain! This is the favourite strategy of emotional “Supermen/women”, who believe they can endure all the suffering by themselves, “I won´t speak about this to anyone, I can bear the pain and solve my problems on my own;” “No one understands me …”; “What´s the point of speaking about it, if it doesn’t take away my pain and solve my problems”; “I don´t trust anyone to talk about it” (because being emotionally dependent on someone can also be a daunting feeling).

Today is February 13rd, 2019 … if we do not do it today, we will never be given the opportunity to relive this day in a pleasant and healthy way (physically and psychologically). However, for some of us, this is just another day in which everything will remain the same (even if everything is wrong), because everything seems stable, organized and balanced, “Despite the fact that I know I should do something to change, although it hurts and makes me suffer, I already know what I am dealing with”. It only seems stable and balanced … but it is not! Otherwise it would not make us suffer.

This is one of life/defence strategies adopted by people who feel insecure, powerless and fearful (change, even theoretically for the better, causes suffering, and therefore generates fear). It is a strategy that I call «maintaining imbalance balanced» … deep down we know and feel that everything is not right, that we have to take action and change, but we continue to live our lives as if nothing really needs to be changed, and therefore nothing changes (although deep within us we continue to complain about life and its vicissitudes).

Underlying the “mask” of strength, determination and assurance (“I have already endured it for many years without complaining!”) is often its opposite … fear, powerlessness and helplessness, which impair our ability to react, just because we do not have the courage to reach out to someone, tackle a problem or deal with a painful feeling.

On the one hand, if the problem seems to be complicated, we tend to come up with complex (frightening) solutions, but sometimes we are surprised at how easy it was to come up with a solution. Think for example how a single drop of water can stop a highly sophisticated electronic mechanism.
On the other hand, if the problem causes a lot of emotional pain, but it seems easy to solve, we tend to think that it cannot be that simple (that is, often problems are worsened by our thoughts).

Change hurts! It’s inevitable. But for some, fear makes them think and accept (this is the real problem) that change is far more painful than enduring the pain of not changing at all! And immersed in this contagious thought (because it contaminates all other thoughts) they continue persistently and laboriously (but painfully) in their difficult task of maintaining balance, although there is an imbalance in the way they live their life, which inevitably leads to a deviation of who they really are and would wish to be, and therefore it ends up making them suffer far more than they would if they made the change they have been trying so hard to avoid!
Many times, when we think, “I stopped feeling happy when this happened …”, the real life-changing question should be “How can I feel good, fulfilled and happy again, even though this has happened …?

Rolando Andrade
Clinical Psychologist
Sports Psychologist

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