Unless you’ve been extremely lucky, you probably know what it’s like to hurt yourself: think of a paper cut, a skinned knee, or a burned finger.
And like any responsible person, I’m sure you quickly covered your wound with an adhesive bandage so it could heal.
A bandage covers up the part of you that’s hurt, but if you pull back the tab, you’ll see that the injury is still there.
A bandage is a great solution for a paper cut, but what about bigger problems, bigger “wounds”?
I have a feeling you’re using different types of “bandages” to cover up some serious problems in your life. And while a bandage is perfect for a small cut, covering up emotional wounds will ensure that you never truly heal.
Signs That You’re Using Bandages
- You hate your crooked teeth so you do an awkward closed-mouth smile whenever someone takes a picture of you.
- While job hunting, you get frustrated because the jobs you’re most interested in require knowledge of programs you’re not familiar with, so you decide to stay at your current job.
- When your clothes feel tight you head to the mall to buy more Spanx instead of heading to the gym.
- You keep to yourself at the office not because you’re focused on your work but because you’ve never gotten help for your debilitating shyness.
- You buy more turtlenecks and concealer to hide the bruises rather than leaving the asshole who beats you.
Bandaging our problems comes from us wanting an easy solution. Maybe we’re feeling lazy. Maybe we’re scared of examining what the real problem is.
By choosing to avoid the problem and cover it up with some quick fix, we’re guaranteeing that we’ll be struggling with this problem for years to come.
I get it. I often fall into the trap of wanting an easy solution. I wore glasses for years longer than I should have because I was scared to shine a spotlight on my own issues.
Wearing glasses felt like I had a shield protecting me from other people. If someone didn’t find me attractive, I’d assume it was because they had some bias against people with glasses, and then I’d think I was so much better than them.
I thought my glasses made me appear “brainy” so I stopped putting a lot of effort into my makeup and clothes. I was smart! Keeping up appearances is for dumb girls…or so I thought.
It took a long time, but when I finally took a good look at my life, I realized I was using my glasses as an excuse to push people away. I was feeling so damaged from my abusive family members and loser ex-boyfriends that I didn’t want to open myself up again.
And when I really thought about it, I knew I completely and utterly HATED my glasses—the smudges, the way they got caught in my hair, being blind when I went swimming, needing to wear them every waking second, the checkups, the expense!
Glasses were my ultimate bandage, and they were hiding a whopper of a self-worth wound.
What about my sense of self? Who would I be without my glasses? What if I got hurt again?
Finally, I bit the bullet and got laser eye surgery. It was strange looking at my new reflection in the mirror…and it was even stranger to stand all the way across the room and still see myself clearly in the mirror.
And you know what?
People still liked me—in fact, MORE people liked me. I was attracting new, friendly faces all the time. Perhaps they could tell I was opening myself up to the world. I found myself seeking out friends, caring about my appearance, and seeing things in a positive light.
I’d say it was like looking at the world through rose-colored glasses, but I wouldn’t want to resort to silly clichés on my website (har har har).
Anyhoo, here’s where I ask you to go deep and take a good, hard look at your life.
At first, it might be easier to identify your “bandages” than it is to pinpoint the root problem. Sometimes we’ve been covering up a problem for so long that we might not be aware of it.
Do any of the examples at the beginning of this post sound like you?
How to Remove Bandages
- Find your bandages. You might know what these are already. Maybe it’s the late fees you pay every month on your credit card? Maybe it’s the closet full of elastic-waist pants? Your loved ones might also have suggestions since they’re removed from the problem and can see the whole picture.
- Peel back the layers. Usually, there’s more than one bandage covering up a big problem. Take them one at a time. Quickly ripping off a bandage might work with skinned knees, but when dealing with serious life issues, I highly recommend the slow and steady route.
- Examine the underlying problem and get support. You might feel pretty lost when your bandages are no longer there to protect you. Now’s the time to get as much support in your life as you can. Depending on your problem, you might join a support group, ask your friends to go to the gym with you, or have a meeting with a financial planner. If your whole life seems out of whack, consider hiring a coach to help you find direction and plan next steps.
How do you overcome problems in your life?
In the comments below, share an example of your “bandages” and how you eventually fixed the problem they were hiding.
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