Don't Let Things Fester

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Note:  Reprinted from Doreen L. Guma’s Huffington Post article published 10/1/2013 

I know the title of this blog sounds gross. You can see actually see the open wound, right? But, sometimes, it’s important for us to take notice of things. Sometimes we ignore a situation for just too long. I’m going to share a story, something that maybe you can relate to, or maybe you cannot… but it parallels a thought process that can definitely be applied to any aspect of your life.

My dog has fleas. Stay with me, here — it’s a true story but also an analogy that may enable you to visualize what I’m trying to explain. My son Gregory, who will be 22 next week, said to me sometime around May, “Mom, Cody has some weird things crawling on his belly.” Well, of course we washed him, and that was about it… forgotten. Or, at least I wanted to let it be forgotten.

Weeks later, in September, my daughter Jackie, who is 18, started complaining that she thought Cody had fleas. I never, in all the dogs I had ever had, dealt with a flea problem, so I tried to ignore it a bit more — to the point when I couldn’t ignore it anymore. Cody was now what the groomer called “infested” (he had more than 10 fleas on him). Thank goodness we mostly have hardwood floors throughout our house or we’d have to deal with an even larger problem. Why? I waited too long. I let the situation “fester” by ignoring it. Sometimes things just WON’T go away.

How does this apply to other situations in life, you might ask? Easy. Do you have a problem that is mentally draining? We all have two options, just like caring for the fleas — address it and make changes so things get better, or let them fester till there’s a complete “infestation.” You know what I’m talking about. That haunting situation that you wake with — the one that lays heavy on your mind, or those situations that won’t let you settle down enough so you can sleep.

“Doreen, you’ve got it all wrong, I’ve got things under control!” Don’t hide it! I hear you thinking it! But I know, through my own experiences, that the thoughts or issues that bring us down do not go away. They fester. They may lay dormant for a period of time; you might even have a good day so you can ignore it some more, but the life situation comes back. Sometimes even worse, just like the fleas. We wrote about this type of occurrence in our book, If I Knew Then What I Know Now, Our Quest for Quality of Life. We wrote about how we let things in our lives fester; how we had ignored life situations that haunted us and affected us for too many year — situations that many of us could have addressed that would have significantly improved our quality of life.

I also wanted to add that, if we look deeply, we will find a life lesson in the “things” that happen to us. Sometimes we’re too busy to notice the lesson, but I have found that there is usually something to be learned in there. Perhaps we let people take advantage of us, perhaps we chose not to see; perhaps we choose to be blind to what was occurring. The fleas certainly gave me a life lesson. I realize that I had gotten too busy to take care of, and address, the little things in my life.

So, as it relates to the fleas, what did I do? After the groomer washed Cody I went into full defense mode. I called the vet and got Cody medicine to kill the fleas, ordered a whole bunch of natural flea-killing spray and shampoo, and basically freaked out trying to get things under control. I’m still working on it. I saw ONE flea yesterday. In the scheme of things, the flea situation is probably an easy one to deal with. I certainly realize not all life situations are easy to solve.

In applying the flea analogy to real life, perhaps it’s time to address something you’ve let fester. Look at yourself — look at your health, your relationships, or that “dead end” job. Is it time to get a life situation under control, like the fleas? Only you can decide when it’s the right time to do so.

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