Updated: Aug 4
By: Dr. Lisa M.Coffey
July 20, 2022
How many red flags must we ignore before we take action? Are you guilty of pushing past the limit, sweeping stuff under the rug, or simply ignoring warning signs? Regardless of whether the warnings are related to relationships, workplace, health, business, or life balance issues, we must heed the warning signs before things spiral out of control and need advanced measures to resolve.
Any one of us can reflect on a time when we let a health issue, work circumstance, or relationship linger too long, and when the time came for repair, we had to work overtime to make progress. Speaking from experience, I am having ongoing issues with the trigger thumb, first my right thumb and now my left thumb. I never realized how vital my thumbs were until I could not move them freely or complete simple tasks. I could not brush my teeth, zip my pants or grip my pen to write without excruciating pain. To correct the problem, I had pulley release surgery on my right thumb a year ago, and now the identical surgery on my left thumb last week.
Let's rewind to my right thumb's beginning symptoms. On a return flight from Texas a few years ago, I loaded my carry-on luggage into the overhead compartment using one hand; I thought I was Hercules. I even turned down help from a gentleman. Then, I felt a pop in my right thumb, shook it off, went to my seat, ordered a cocktail, and drifted off to sleep. Although several weeks later, I still felt a slight annoyance in my thumb, I carried on without getting my thumb checked by a doctor. Instead, I spent my free time digging and planting my garden, often typing my book/blog posts and my routine tasks while ignoring the pain. Most times, I took an Aleeve to ease the pain.
Unfortunately, I had too much on my plate to pause and worry about the ongoing symptoms in my thumb. Consequently, as time passed, my symptoms progressed, which required a visit to the orthopedic specialist, a steroid injection, and eventual surgery, as it turned out. Because I pushed my thumb past its limitations, the repair and recovery process was more significant than physical therapy and rehabilitation had I sought treatment sooner.
Painful revelation, but we often push ourselves and situations to exhaustion before seeking help. Is it possible to save your relationship with open communication and or counseling? Could your medical condition be in remission if you seek treatment now? Did you endure workplace harassment because you did not want to address the issues or snitch? I can give a plethora of examples. You get the point!
When we do not lend our immediate attention to swelling issues, we face an increased likelihood of additional damage leading to out-of-the-ordinary consequences. The goal is to attack our problems head-on and seek resolutions without procrastination. Avoidance coping is used to avoid dealing with difficult situations, feelings, emotions, and decisions. "Don't put off until tomorrow, what you can do today" (Benjamin Franklin) is a necessary reminder we need to have with ourselves. Failure to make timely decisions can increase stress levels, uncertainty, and delay results. Do not waste another moment adapting to situations that need fixing.
In my book iDid and uCan 2, I share stories from my life and other examples of delayed decision-making and the consequences of those decisions. So often, we are too busy to pay attention, afraid to make a change, or uneasy about adjustments. Nevertheless, action is better than avoidance. So save yourself some time and stop ignoring the warning signs.
Temporary solutions (avoidance, procrastination, or Aleeve) are band-aids, not long-term resolutions. Instead, opt for an immediate resolution that will reduce your stress, and make the difficult decisions today to preserve your tomorrow's happiness.
© 2022 Lisa M. Coffey