If you find yourself in hell, keep walking. Don’t stop and build a campfire!

Life is full of challenges and often those challenges can come from the most intimate relationships in our life called family. When those relationships have become so dysfunctional that it feels like you are living in a deep forest of hellish-like experiences, you keep walking. You don’t stop and build a campfire. 

My client Laura came from a family that was so dysfunctional that she thought the dysfunction was just part of life. In other words, her family’s way of life was the campfire they had been sitting around for years in the middle of this hellish-like existence. 

Once Laura became proactive instead of reactive, she started to do her due diligence and found coaching to help her illuminate what was actually going on. She learned that by making different choices, and often difficult ones, she could change how she experienced her life. She realized that she had spent years gathering buckets of water, setting them by the campfire so her family could put it out. But her family just ignored the buckets of water. Even if she threw the water on herself, they would just rebuild the campfire. 

Laura decided that for her own sake, and the sake of her husband and son, she needed to leave. She made the hard choice of walking away as she progressively made her way further and further from the campfire. Although her family, still sitting around the campfire, kept calling for her back. She didn’t know what laid ahead of her, but she knew that if she went back, she would be stuck sitting around that same old campfire that she had been trying to put out for so many years.

Even though she was still in the dense and dark part of the forest, she courageously kept walking. She had to keep overcoming the temptation to go back because of her guilt and fear of what might happen if she wasn’t there with another bucket of water. She kept renewing her courage and strengthening her commitment and trust as she found the trees becoming more sparse and more and more light shined through. The further away she got from the campfire, the more the light came in.

For the first time in her life, she was able to see things more clearly as she made her way to the edge of the forest. As she took those last steps out, she could finally look back and see what she had been through from the outside in. And even though she could still see the smoke coming from the middle as it made its way to the top of the trees, she knew that everyone is at choice, and her choice was to keep walking.

What choices have you been making? Are your choices moving you toward more clarity and a richer quality of life, or are they keeping you stuck as you throw more logs on the campfire?