A man I once knew moved across the country to start a new life. Things didn’t work out as well as he’d hoped, and after much heartache he decided to move back. He asked me my thoughts on such an action, and I made them clear:
Always move forward. If you are running from your problems and escaping to the familiar, I cannot condone that. But if you are regrouping, gathering your strength, and traveling to familiar territory for your advantage in friends, family, and work, then by all means, move forward.
Moving forward rather than running away means you get to face your problems and resolve them, rather than putting them in a the closet where they can fester and smell up the place. You move from your position to a position of strength, rather than to a position of weakness. And you can feel confident about your choices, instead of feeling guilty and shameful.
Interestingly enough, many times the difference between moving forward and running away is your perspective. How you look at it.
I recently heard of a talented friend who has decided to drop out of college and change careers. They’re very good at what they’re studying, but can’t find fulfillment in it. If they could learn to accept their skill instead of believe they don’t have talent, and if they could learn to manage stress, they would do just fine. But knowing the problem and actually being able to (or wanting to) solve it are two different beasts.
Sometimes we do come across problems in life we simply cannot overcome immediately. Moving forward in these cases can involve a strategic retreat to a stronger position. Once we’re in a comfortable and stable position, without the stress and horror, we can then bandage our wounds, strengthen ourselves, and prepare to dive into the breach again.
A withdrawl to gain strength is moving forward, as long as it’s viewed that way, and not as a retreat. Pushing forward against a wall when weakened will make you give, not the wall. Stepping back to get a running start can let you vault over it.
And as before, the difference is all in how you perceive it. If you consider yourself a failure and a quitter, you’ll just feel sorry for yourself and fail to progress. If you realize you’re doing it for your benefit, there’s logical and good reasons, and you’re actively seeking happiness and good things for your life and others, then you will find those things.
One thing’s for certain, though. If we’re not moving forward, then by elimination we’re stagnating or sliding backwards.