People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.
– Thich Nhat Hanh
Of the many peculiarities of human nature that are difficult to explain, this ranks near the top of the list.
We have people (men and women both) who are afraid to leave an abusive relationship because they don’t want to live alone, because they are afraid that their lover will find them and harm them, because they don’t know what to do to get away and can’t bring themselves to make plans. Or, perhaps, these are mere excuses offered to those who know about the abuse they suffer and urge the victim to leave.
Many people work jobs they hate because they are afraid to leave. Their excuses include the risk of not finding a better job, of getting a new job and finding it worse, of needing the stability of an old job they know well during this “difficult time” of their lives, of the current job market being slim. In fact, most of them refuse to even look for a new job.
Many people attend the services of the religion they grew up with, regularly, because they fear the consequences of leaving.
Their minds are often made up so steadfastly that they can’t be knocked off their position by reason. They don’t feel the need to expalin to anyone else because their minds are so solid on the subject. But they will sometimes confide in others, leaving that small opening for change.
There are other examples of the fear that many people have of leaving the suffering they are familiar with, but they all have one common factor. The issue that is the problem is a very important parts of their life. Whatever the relationship they fear severing, it has constituted a major factor and commitment of their lives, an undeniable portion of their lives they invested in who they are today.
Of the several people I have personally helped over a major hurdle in their lives, they all wanted to know that they had someone behind them to support them if they faltered. They needed to know that it was alright for them to take the big step and fail, that they would not be failures in life if they did, that other opportunities would present themselves that would be better if they made a mistake with thier first choice.
They wanted to know that they were not alone when they changed their lives.
In the final analysis, we are each alone when we make major life decisions. Few of us have one friend so close and dependable that we can be absolutely certain they will be there for us if we try and fail.
What each person in a position of making such a life-altering decision needs to know is that no matter what happens, the sun will rise the next day and they will rise with it. Somehow, those of us who survive the night manage to find a way to build better lives if we dare take the big chance.
And there is always someone who will help if we look hard enough and ask people we believe we can trust.
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems, striving to show the real opportunities for a better future.
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