No matter where you go there you are.
The verdict is out on who originally coined that phrase, but it’s been around for decades. I prefer to attribute to those gentlemen in the above picture. Those stalwarts in “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension.” If you’ve never seen this cult classic, do yourself a favor and watch it if for no other reason than to hoot at the ridiculous 80’s style and to say that you’ve seen it.
Regardless of who is really the author of this saying, it’s high time that we start reflecting on what that really means. You see, many of us find ourselves in the same situations over and over. We are willing to drop our friends and family members, take a new job, and spend thousands on vacations all in the name of tackling some problem. Yet, no matter where you go there you are. We find that we encounter the same problem with another group of friends, or at our new job, or while we’re on our dream vacation. You could even say that this a form of “habit insanity.” At some point, we have to acknowledge that we can’t escape ourselves. Wherever you go there you are. Our options are to continue to run or confront the problem head-on.
You may need to reread that last paragraph a few times. It’s not an easy concept to swallow, and I applaud you for making it this far. Many people don’t realize their role in their own lives until they’ve gotten themselves into a deep, dark hole. It takes a conscious decision to become self-aware before we can begin diving into the vast expanse that is ourselves. Certainly, it would be easier to run away from whatever deep-seated issue we’ve come to recognize. You know that; after all, you’ve been running this whole time. But we do have another option. We can choose to become engaged in self-exploration. We can stay, and we can be where we are.
What does it mean to be where you are anyway? The skeptic in you might be thinking something like, “Yeah, of course I am where I am. Duh.” What we’re talking about here requires a level of self-reflection and dedication to what you’re doing. It’s more comfortable to take the easy way out, so it’s often our first instinct to run when something doesn’t feel good or natural to us. “No matter where you go there you are” means that you drag your same old habit patterns with you everywhere you go.
Understand that we aren’t talking about dangerous situations. Staying in any kind of abusive relationship, for example, isn’t the kind of situation we’re talking about toughing out. You’ve got to examine your own life and decide whether sticking it out could really benefit you. If you get a better job offer that will pay you more, offer you better benefits, and is closer to home, by all means, go for it. The situations we are talking about here are the ones that deep down we know we avoid because they are tough. It’s the blowout arguments about nothing because we are too stubborn to express our real emotions. It’s the failure to hold down a job because we can’t yet admit to ourselves that we harbor resentment towards authority. It’s anything that causes us to run towards something else, like a new relationship or yet another job, because it’s easier to do that than deal with ourselves. The problem is no matter where we go, there we are, and we get ourselves stuck in an endless cycle of scarred relationships, self-hatred, and a whole lot of wasted time. But where do those problems actually stem from?
Recently, I had an experience of my own that put this into perspective for me. I had come to terms with the fact that I had to deal with some foundational issues, as I’ll call them, and I knew it wasn’t going to be fun or easy. To answer the question that I put to you in the above paragraph, the problems stem from foundational issues such as how we truly view ourselves, and that hurts that have colored our negative view of ourselves. We drag these issues with us from place to place, relationship to relationship and so on, with the same results every time.
The experience definitely that put this into prespective for me was a true foundational issue and put a great deal pressure on me. After all the work (years) of peeling back the layers of hurts, habits, and hangups and thinking perhaps I was all finished with looking inward I got hit with a situation that finally made me acknowledge a true foundational issue that has plagued me with constant emotional hurt. I’ll write an article on this in the future.
While the whole situation was rather distasteful, I knew I had to stay put and deal with it. I call it being “squeezed.” Sometimes, we needed to be squeezed, and squeezed hard, to force us to deal with the sensitive, emotional issues we’ve done such a good job of avoiding for so long. I was motivated to make some changes in my life, so I was willing to be squeezed until that happened. Running again would have left me with no other strategy but to continually make the same mistakes and have the same bad behaviors again. You see, even though I run this blog, I’m just a little further along the journey than many of you. I’m still putting the work in, too, so I know how tough it can be. I’m in the trenches with you, and the beauty is that none of us have to do this alone.
In this case I made the decision to finally confront this painful issue instead of dragging it with me everywhere I go and expecting different results. No matter where you go there you are. I no longer want the same results. I no longer want the pain that corrals me into making the same decisions. Wherever I go, now I want different results. The only way I can do that is by confronting the issue.
We’ve talked about training situations in a previous article, and this is one of the times you can use what’s going on in your own life as a training opportunity for yourself. If you can gut out the hard times, it will pay off in the end. It’s okay to feel a bit uncomfortable. In fact, I would argue that we need to feel uncomfortable to experience any genuine growth.
Next time you finding yourself acting in the same old destructive manner, I challenge you to ask yourself, “How am I contributing to the problem? What is the issue I need to face and bring out into the open?” By acknowledging your role in your own life, you can begin to evaluate whether this is time where you need to stick it out, and be wherever you are for a while. Then, and only then can we begin to live life free from making the same mistakes again and again. No matter where we go, there we’ll be.
I’m going to close out with this cheesy little video. If you’ve read any of my other stuff, you know I can’t help myself!
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