But what if that sacrifice actually ends up hurting more people than not, including you??? What if sacrifice isn't even necessary? What if...a realistic alternative existed?
Every problem has a solution. That's not just my inner cheerleader talking--it's true. The first thing I do when I have any issue is communicate my needs to a person who cares. That does not always present immediate answers, but two heads are better than one. Sometimes, you just need the support of a single person to know that your biggest, scariest, ugliest problem is something you don't have to face alone. All you need is the help of one person. The kind of person who would follow you to the ends of the earth.
True, that friend is rare. But you probably know at least one. It may have even been the person you sacrificed for in the first place....
It is hard to get regular folks to understand certain sacrifices if they come from a different background. The first thing anyone suggests with the big, scary, ugly kind of problem is to go to the police. But after my last year, I understand how big, scary and ugly can get away with murder. Literally. Something the family and friends of Deb Constantino know well. For your suburban neighbor who just pushes neighborly boundaries, the police work. But not for people who are true criminals. And no one gets it unless they've experienced it first hand.
You cannot apply logic or reason to criminal behavior. A criminal has reasons for committing crimes, but none of those reasons are actually reasonable. Shooting my house with arrows wasn't just a warning to me; it was meant to show others in my life the extremes to which this individual would go. And, if arrows cut through steel doors and glass that easily, imagine what it could do to metal of less substance? To uninsulated walls??? You could be asleep in your bedroom and never even know what hit you before dying. Especially if the person holding the bow knows the layout of your home. You'll never be safe. And neither will any of your close friends or family. You may feel the only thing you can do when facing that kind of foe is to appease the savage beast. But as the world learned during Hitler's reign of terror, appeasement never works.
So what are your options???
Other than wishing Ray Donovan were real, praying for a million dollars so you can relocate yourself and your entire family across the country, or hoping big, scary and ugly magically drops dead, it's easy to feel helpless. And while you sit there in misery, people who you thought were your friends make fun of you for not facing your problems--even calling you a coward--because they have no idea what the magnitude of those problems actually are. Even if you were to tell them, they wouldn't believe you. It's why you give up so easily. It's why you're so sad. It's why it's hard to trust. And it's also why you dream of disappearing one day. Walking away and never coming back. But that's not you. You'd never abandon the people you love. Not really. If you ever did walk away, it would be to protect, not harm. You try to keep most at arm's length as a result, because, not only will they not understand what you really can't explain, but bringing them into your world may not be safe. Something you now know well. Not even you are safe. Despite you're own strength, you're own courage, the big, scary, ugly problem has sharp teeth, long claws and an even longer reach. Makes you feel as though you'll never get away. And you accept it. Are resigned to it. But that big, scary, ugly problem is not as all-powerful as you think.
Sometimes, when you've lived with something big, scary and ugly for a long time, it's hard to believe anything else really exists. Your circumstances become magnified. And it's easy to get overwhelmed, daunted. You want to just withdraw from the world. Shrink back. Because it feels like there's no other way to escape. In those moments, remember, you have a friend.
The Universe doesn't make mistakes; only people do. The moment your friend crossed your path, it was to help you face what you've never been able to face before. To help you break free. That's what friends are for after all. To shine a light in the darkness.
You can't bribe big, scary and ugly problems to go away; rewarding negative behavior always backfires. As you likely know at this point. You can't stoop to their same criminal level either. Mainly because, you have a lot to live for. And no one is worth ruining your life over. No one. Especially when things like white sand beaches exist. The stars in the night sky. Georgia sunsets streaming pink and orange across the horizon. Babies! And, Disney World. That's what waits on the other side of that big, scary, ugly problem. And believe me when I say there is nothing more important than removing fear and living with joy. Once you've experienced that freedom, you never want it to end. Big, scary and ugly problems may get in the way, but you don't have to let the fear of that problem ru(i)n your life.
Let no thing, no person prevent you from achieving true bliss. It's not a task anyone is ever expected to complete on their own, by the way. So don't beat yourself up if you haven't achieved it yet. You just may not have found the right friend. Until now. And, let's not forget that every hero begins as a reluctant hero. Even if you have found the right friend, you may still be daunted. But when the hero finally does decide to face the biggest, scariest, ugliest problem you can imagine, (s)he's never alone. One good friend is all you need to tip the scales.
The solution for something that big, that scary and that ugly usually needs to be applied on multiple levels. Distance helps, too. Both of which can happen with the aid of a true friend. Especially a friend who's witnessed the big, the scary AND the ugly. A friend who loves you unconditionally--even if it took that friend longer than you expected to figure out the situation.
Big, scary and ugly problems often make it so you can't go to police without implicating yourself--that's part of why it's so scary. But you have something that big, scary and ugly problem doesn't--a true friend. A friend with connections and resources outside of you. And, outside of the big, scary, ugly problem.
Everyone needs that kind of friend. The kind who won't give up on you. Who isn't intimidated by things she doesn't understand. Who will not just stand behind you, but next to you. Imagine the relief. You could finally breathe again. No more looking over your shoulder. You could actually explore who you are. You could be free to learn, live and love as authentically as possible. Perhaps for the first time in your life. And your friend will be right there with you. Maybe already is....
In a perfect world, we could tell our friends, our family about our troubles--no matter how big, how scary, how ugly--and everyone would gather around us in support. But we don't live in a perfect world. It's perfectly imperfect. Completely incomplete. You don't need perfection, however, to feel complete. You just need that one friend. If you've got that one friend--the one who believes in you, no matter what--you are wealthier than Donald Trump, Oprah Winfrey, J. K. Rowling, and the Queen of England combined. Your life is made. And those big, scary, ugly problems will be long gone. I promise. And I always keep my promises....
If you're living a half life because you feel it's the best option to keep the peace and appease those big, scary, ugly problems--know that there is a realistic alternative. It's not just theoretical; it's practical and long-term. It might mean short term discomfort, but consider it growing pains. Temporary. When all is said and done, you'll be free to live your life. You'll be safe. So will your family. And that life you thought would never be possible? You can finally live it.
Or, you can keep things as they are. It's really up to you. There is always a choice. Always. Even when it seems like there isn't. That's called "hitting the wall."
Athletes whose bodies are trained to complete otherwise physically impossible tasks face the wall, despite knowing--for a fact--that their bodies are capable of the task at hand. Hitting the wall happens right before the end of a marathon. You feel tired, sick, like you just can't take another step. But it's a mind game. An illusion. Your mind always gives up long before your body has to. Fear, therefore, is your enemy--not the big, scary, ugly problem. Not when you have a friend who is an expert at removing limits. She's waiting for you at the finish line, calling your name, cheering you on with a smile that could melt the polar ice caps.
It's time to live again....