Do you like to play hide and seek?

Have you ever had one of those days where being under the duvet seems like the best place to be?

Not because you are poorly.

Not because you are genuinely tired.

But because you want to hide.

You want to hide from ‘stuff’, as it seems too difficult or hard to face.

So rather than face it, you pull the duvet back over your head and hope it will go away.

Ever had a day like that?

In my 30’s, I can remember one such day. I was too frightened to face the world and take responsibility for what I had done, and so I literally pulled the duvet over my head hoping that it would all go away.

It didn’t.

It was 2003. I had just left my career as a stage manager. I had no idea what I was going to do, I just knew I needed to leave. Which was the right thing for me to do. However, I didn’t plan or think about the future (not something I encourage from a coaching perspective these days!).

The first week I relaxed. It didn’t seem real that I hadn’t got a job or even a career anymore. It was like being on holiday, but not knowing when it was going to end. Great! Except that my lack of forward thinking and funding had caught up with me.

The phone rang.

It was the credit card company, and so I did what any grown woman would do, told them ‘Jules wasn’t in’ and to call back later. I hung up and literally went and hid under the duvet! And cried.

Knowing what I know now, this sounds ridiculous, and I am quite amazed that I am publicly sharing it! But it’s true. I hid. Like a child covering their eyes thinking ‘if I can’t see you then you can’t see me’. And it will go away. I stayed there for hours stressing. Worrying. Chastising myself for how things were.

I wasn’t being an adult. I was not willing to take responsibility for the situation I was in. Too scared to face the problem as I couldn’t see a solution. Thinking only of the problem and not looking for a solution was a stressful panicky way of being, and feeling scared triggered a default to hide under the duvet. To retreat to a place where I felt safe.

But this was not going to solve the problem, no matter how long I hid there.

At some point I had to take responsibility for the situation that I was in, that I had created, and I had to do something about it. Ok I didn’t know what, right at that moment, but I did have to do something. Because this was not fun, and in hindsight not safe either.

Sadly, it’s often when things get to this point that we truly sit up and take notice. When things are so uncomfortable, we HAVE TO do something about them. It’s either “desperation or inspiration” (Adyashanti) that moves us. And in this instance for me, it was desperation.

When the phone rang later that day, I answered it, as me, in tears, and had an embarrassingly difficult conversation about the problem.

I had not told anyone about this, and I thought it was just me. Thought only I had been foolish enough to get myself into debt. My internal narrative at the time was that I was stupid, so I readily looked for evidence to prove it and here it was. It’s just me, I’m the dumb one and everyone else has it sorted.

We often do this as humans. Separate ourselves from others, thinking that ‘it’s just me’, when in fact the human condition affects us all. I have been lucky enough to witness this over the years with clients. Not just around finances, but relationships, career, health, all sorts. It’s sadly normal to create embarrassment because we think it’s just us.

Often talking about it, with the appropriate person, is a great start. Even if a solution is not found. After all, “a problem shared is a problem halved”. Not because the problem is solved, but because this conversation can often highlight that it’s not just you, and that others have found a way out. And if they have, there must be a solution! Or two heads can start thinking of some. It’s a case of looking for them and taking the action required in that direction.

Of course, the credit card person had heard much worse than what I was sharing. They were kind and listened. Together we came up with a plan that worked for them and me. And I stuck with the plan until I was out of the hole that I had got myself into. But to do that I had to face how I had got in there in the first place.

And I continue to use the same practice now. Get as honest as I can with where I am, work out a plan from there and work the plan.

It’s the same thing that I use when working with clients. It’s why one of them recently said…

“…Jules helped me understand myself, got me to unlock my confidence and shoved me in the direction I wanted to take. She made me answer awkward questions, made me feel uncomfortable, made me laugh, p’ed me off – but was simply amazing!
The result is that almost a year on and I’m about to start a new job and have got my mojo back…”

Do you always want to face the situation? No. But you know that if you want to change the situation you have to.

Does facing it make everything easier? No, possibly not in the short term. It’s the long term that needs more attention and, in my experience, things can get easier from there on in. For example, I have a much healthier relationship with credit cards now! In fact, I recently shared in a workshop that I get excited when they arrive, because how lucky am I that I get to use this money and pay it back!

Can you stay under the duvet, hiding from the world a little longer? Of course you can, but know that the situation rarely gets better that way, often it gets worse, to the point of desperation. Why wait? At some point in some way you will need to face it, so why not start now from a place of inspiration with one small step in a direction that is going to be helpful.

I never liked the word responsible because it seemed too big and had high risk attached. In some ways it still does, but these days my focus goes more towards the benefits of being responsible for myself, of being an adult. And the result is that duvet days happen when rest is required, and ‘stuff’ now gets done!

Is it time for you to come out of hiding too?

Remember, if you want to talk things through with a professional that will listen, and in many cases has been there and got the T-shirt, get in touch with jules@juleswyman.com

In the meantime, no matter what the situation is, there will be a solution somewhere, and you can only find it when you start looking for it.