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Stop Running from Your Life and Start Living It

By

Running

“Let yourself be open and life will be easier. A spoon of salt in a glass of water makes the water undrinkable. A spoon of salt in a lake is almost unnoticed.” ~Buddha

I spent most of my life running. I ran from people, commitments, physical locations, and most of all, myself. And if I wasn’t running, I was definitely thinking about it.

I always had great excuses. I wasn’t happy, didn’t fit in, wasn’t comfortable—the excuses were never ending. I was rarely content. So in late 2010, I decided that the best solution was to sell everything, uproot, and move across country.

The problem with always running is that eventually you grow exhausted.

Alone in an unfamiliar city, I first thought my depression was due to the vast changes in my life. Not only had I left a relatively small city for one of the largest in Canada, I was jobless, friendless, and scared out of my mind. That’s when things started to fall apart.

Little by little, everything began to crumble. My self-esteem, confidence, and self-assurance were evaporating, and I didn’t understand what was going on. I had never stopped long enough to take a good look at my life, so I didn’t even know myself.

I didn’t want to know myself.

By 2012, I lost interest in most activities that once fulfilled my life. I went through cycles of depression, hopelessness, and panic. I was certain that the world moved ahead and I had fallen behind everyone else.

I was completely broken and, unlike the other times when I’d struggled, I didn’t think I could be repaired. 

I attempted counseling but it didn’t help. It just seemed like the layers of my issues weren’t only psychological, but also spiritual. Sure, everything had a logical solution, but it didn’t necessarily give me any comfort.

Talking to friends wasn’t helpful either. In fact, in some cases it seemed to make me feel worse.

I sought books and blogs to find the help I needed. The miraculous thing is that once I started to look for solutions, one by one, I found the exact reading material I needed at that very moment. One little molecule at a time, I felt like I was being rebuilt.

Then everything took an abrupt turn.     

It was the first weekend in September and I was sitting outside on a beautiful day, feeling a deep sense of peace and relaxation. Maybe, I decided, things were starting to look up. Maybe everything was finally coming together.

That night I had an intense dream where I was in a mad rush to find a specific person in order to finish a task. I finally found him and he held up a baby for me to see. The child kissed her tiny fingers, then touched my face and in an adult voice said, “I love you.”

I awoke the next morning feeling like this was strangely a sign of hope.

Immediately, I thought that one of my close friends back home, who was a spiritual person, would understand the intensity I felt over such a dream. We often discussed our personal struggles and successes, encouraging and helping each other in our journey. She was a big believer in synchronicity and would be elated to learn that I had this positive sign.

Before I had a chance to contact her, I found out the terrible news: She had been killed in a car accident the previous day.

Once I got over the shock and disbelief, I felt that the dream was a message from her. We always talked about “signs,” and since she loved children (and was actually a teacher), it made sense that she would communicate with me through a child.

I felt a great deal of grief over her death, but the dream left me with an unexpected sense of hope.

I thought about the kind of person she was; she was adventurous, always tried to see the good in others, and lived in the moment. I also thought about how she admired my fiery, direct, and honest attitude. That’s when I realized it was time to bring that person back.

Although I continued to struggle for the upcoming months, I was feeling a tinge of hope that I hadn’t felt in a long time.

In late 2012, I was shocked to learn that two more of my friends had died—both were young and had a short bout with cancer.

It was yet another reminder that we are only given so many days, so much time, and we should use it on things and people that matter to us.

I ended a friendship that was draining and hurtful. I also put a lot less focus on those who didn’t bring something positive to the table, instead focusing on those who made me laugh and were a joy to be around.

But even then, I didn’t feel completely fulfilled and often found myself falling into my old, negative thought patterns, usually coinciding with the end of the week.

Then I took a friend’s advice and picked up a book by Louise Hay. It changed my life.

In one of her books, she outlines an exercise that requires the reader to visualize themselves as a child of five or six. You have to envision yourself looking into your own eyes as a child. I did so and the first thought that ran through my head was, “I’m sorry that I ruined your life.”

I immediately broke down. I never cried with such intensity before. Until that moment, I had never realized that this was my central thought for so long.

No wonder I felt so miserable and defeated. Telling anyone that they ruined your life is a pretty broad statement—and yet, I was telling this to myself everyday.

Things didn’t become perfect after that day, but I saw some immediate changes. I felt lighter and slept better than I had before. I was calmer and centered in a way I had never experienced in my life; it was a new normal for me.

I had spent so many years racing away from my thoughts, feelings, fears, and insecurities because the idea of dealing with them was overwhelming. But it had to happen.

I no longer run away because I know it doesn’t bring you true happiness. I face each situation with courage, but mostly, I follow my instincts and do what feels right. It hasn’t steered me wrong yet.

I’m not suggesting that every day is magical, wonderful, and full of pink unicorns. (I wish!) But I’ve learned that the key is to accept yourself with the same love and compassion as you would for the most important person in your life.

Really, it should be one in the same.

Photo by StarMama

Avatar of Mima

About Mima

Mima is the author of Fire and the prequel, A Spark before the Fire. Check out her website at www.mimaonfire.com.  She also welcomes you to follow her on Twitter @mimaonfire or Facebook.

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  • SS

    WOW…I cannot even begin to express how EXACTLY word. for. word. you read, interpreted and expressed my heart, mind and soul. You are an angel, to me! Thank you from beyond the depths of my heart, mind and soul for sharing. God Bless You!

  • simplysarah

    It took my several attempts to read this whole article. Not because there was anything wrong with it, but because it was hard to see through the tears in my eyes. For the past few weeks, I’ve just wanted to run away. I needed this right now. Thank you.

  • Turtle

    Which book by Louise L Hay was it you read?

  • SS

    OMG, same thing happened to me when I read this too!

  • Slip_Mahoney

    Wow! I am reading “You Can Heal Your Life” by Louise Hay right now! It is already beginning to make a difference. It won’t help to just read it and agree with it, however. I must be willing to change and practice that willingness through the many exercises she suggests. And I will.

  • growthguided

    Recognizing that feeling of rock bottom emotionally and then making the choice to keep going is such a tremendous mindset to carry. We all reach these mental frailties and have to trust that the pendulum will swing the other way if only you keep moving forward!

  • John

    All I have to say is WOW !!! Very powerful and insightful . Standing back and looking at yourself isn’t easy and this has been transferred into your writings . Awesome !!!

  • lv2terp

    Such a powerful post, wow!!!! I really enjoyed reading this, thank you for being vulnerable, and sharing your experience, and lessons learned along the way! :) Beautiful!!!!

  • http://www.mimaonfire.com/ Mima

    Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments!!!

  • http://www.mimaonfire.com/ Mima

    Thanks so much! It definitely isn’t easy to stand back and look at ourselves but it’s such an enriching experience when we do!

  • http://www.mimaonfire.com/ Mima

    Thank you for your comment! I believe that the hardest part of my journey is actually having faith that things will improve and I think that’s actually something a lot of people probably struggle with when they reach that low point in life. Thanks again!

  • http://www.mimaonfire.com/ Mima

    Louise Hay is amazing! I learn so much from her books and I’m currently going through her workbook of exercises and they are tough to get through – but so worth it! I find it takes awhile to change your habits and the way you look at things and there are definitely some days that are easier than others but it’s a journey and we can’t learn it all in one day. Good luck and just to let you know, there are also a lot of Louise Hay videos on YouTube in case you want to check them out. Sometimes it is more inspiring to just listen to the words. Thanks again!

  • http://www.mimaonfire.com/ Mima

    I believe that particular book was How to Heal your life. In fact, I’m almost 100% certain – I’ve read a few of her books and they are all amazing. As I commented to someone earlier, she also has quite a few videos on YouTube if you wanted to check them out as well.

  • http://www.mimaonfire.com/ Mima

    I think we all go through periods of time where we want to run away – just some of us go through them more frequently! It’s almost always about fear and I’ve learned that it’s important to step back and ask yourself what you are scared of at that specific moment. What thoughts or experiences have led you to that moment? I’m very touched by your thoughtful and heartfelt comment. I sincerely wish you well in your current situation! Take care and good luck!

  • http://www.mimaonfire.com/ Mima

    Thank you so much for your comment. I wish you well.

  • http://www.mimaonfire.com/ Mima

    Thank you!!! You’re an angel for sharing your heartfelt comments with me! It definitely makes our journey a little easier knowing that we are not the only person dealing with specific emotions and issues! I wish you luck and many blessings on your journey!

  • Meghan

    I saw so much of myself in your post. When I read the part about looking into the eyes of yourself as I child, I teared up. I’ve been carrying around that “sorry I’ve ruined your life” sentiment for so long now It’s a painful realization, but somehow comforting to know I’m not alone. Thank you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/adrian.richardson.79 Adrian Richardson

    Same reaction, this post was just amazing!

  • http://www.mimaonfire.com/ Mima

    It was a huge breakthrough for me! I truly hadn’t realized that this was how I felt for so long but there is definitely comfort in knowing that I’m not the only person who has felt that way. Take care and thank you for your comment!

  • http://www.onewaythoughts.com/ Ericson Ay Mires

    This concept of acceptance is what allowed me to get over my bout with anxiety. It made me quite literally afraid of nothing, and left me feeling trapped in my own head. I was only able to overcome it by accepting the idea that I would sometimes feel this irrational fear, and that it was okay; because afterwards I would be stronger for accepting and overcoming my anxiety.

  • http://www.mimaonfire.com/ Mima

    It is so true! We create our own traps when in fear. I have built so many traps again and again that have only made me (unnecessarily) miserable. I’m getting better though. Thanks for your comment!

  • http://www.mimaonfire.com/ Mima

    Thank you so much!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/nikachai Nika Chai

    Amazing Mimi, I always knew we had som kind of connection. I read this n felt that emotion n reminds me of exactly how I felt at times before but could have never explained it so well. Just balling my eyes out right now!! You know your writing is amazing when the reader can feel exactly what u did. I don’t know what else to say but I think you are amazing. I love you!

  • http://www.mimaonfire.com/ Mima

    Awww…thanks so much for your sweet words!

  • http://twitter.com/weedbychoice kj force

    Found the article well written and informative…You are to be commended for sharing such a personal experience…life being so precious, it is such a sad state of affairs that one has to live as this. There are many issues that you brought up regarding how hard you were on yourself , sometimes we can be our own worst enemy, defeated before we even start.. I am so glad you have come to terms with the situation and moved on…Kudos…
    Congratulations on your awesome write on tiny buddaha…have a wonderful week-end….

  • http://www.mimaonfire.com/ Mima

    Thank you so much!!!

  • Duke Mensah

    Wow, Thank You so much for Your insight. this article hit home for me. I am in the process of rebuilding and cleaning up my life, and the simple exercise from Louis Hay almost brought tears into my eyes. Thanks once again, and Love to All..

  • http://www.mimaonfire.com/ Mima

    Louise Hay is amazing! Her books have such simple concepts yet so effective! She’s amazing. Thanks for your comment!!! Good luck and take care.

  • Pavithra

    I second simplysarah’s comment! Such a brilliant post. Today is the 5th time I’m reading this post. :)

  • Sonya Pervez

    Thank you Mima…you can not imagine how you have just helped me. I am also a believer in signs and I think your article has been one of them today! Love, S

  • Dia

    This is exactly what I needed right now. I just finished a blog post few minutes ago describing exactly the same feelings you mentioned at the beginning of the article. I’m so glad you got through it.. and thank you. Gives me hope that one day (soon?), I will too..