Problem Solving 101


When you are inducted into Spiritual thinking, as I was by my first mentor more years ago than I care to remember, I quickly learnt that your life lessons are inside you.  They’re in your mind and the way you think, which comes from your past and the way you were taught to think, underpinned by your character – are you fixed or flexible, and complicated and confused by your life’s experience.  Most importantly, they go or stay depending on your willingness to change.

Yet at the end of the day, despite all this mess, it is possible to keep things really simple, if you will, and if you really want to change your life in reality not theory, I strongly suggest that you work your way down through any problem that’s upsetting you until you get to the simple truth at the bottom.  Take problems for instance…

Everyone has problems in life, and everyone reacts in different ways.  What freaks you out probably wouldn’t both me, and vice versa.  I’m a screamer at spiders whereas a lovely lady I used to know would just pick them up in a duster and carry them outside practically cooing at them (and laughing at her husband and two sons who had their feet up on the furniture refusing to move until the horrible object was ejected).  To them a spider was a problem, to her it was one big nothing.  It’s about viewpoint.

That’s a simple but effective example.  I know there are much more complex problems in life but let’s not dwell on them, we all know they exist so why depress ourselves?  I certainly don’t want to – but then that’s my mindset, I don’t dwell on problems which is of course my choice that I made when I realised that I am a flexible person who is able to change if she wants to.

In this process I’m going to look at extremes because this is a generalised post not a specific one, but I’m sure that you can work you way through your own life and issues by following this very simple (of course) pattern.

Let’s start at the top-level:

Do you find that you frequently have problems in your life?  Arguments with friends, family, colleagues?  Friends who betray you?  Shortage of money?  If the engine is going to fall out of a car is it your engine that lands up in the middle of the motorway?  And so on.

Next level:

Do you find that you frequently think about problems?  That you’re usually waiting for the other shoe to fall and wondering why you were born into such a cursed life?

Next Level:

Think about your family.  Were they glass half full or half empty people?  Did they constantly have problems?  Were there always family arguments?  What about school, was it a happy place of full of scraps and falling out all the time?  Or work, what are your colleagues like and what have they been like in other jobs?

Next Level:

Sit and think about your past for a while.  What was you childhood like?  Was it happy or sad?  Did you lose loved ones at an early age?  Did something bad happen when you were small, or even many things throughout your childhood?  Did you live in a ‘nice’ neighbourhood or an angry one?  Not that I didn’t say ‘rough’ one, I’m not talking about money here I’m talking about attitude.  Rough can be angry, it can also be rich and disinterested.  It’s often the poorest amongst us who are the kindest so don’t equate anything to money.

So…

Once you’ve looked at these simple steps, which are in reality much more complicated but what the heck we’re keeping it simple here, you should have been able to identify whether you are trained in a problematical life or whether something else has created those problems, and I will take a punt that most people reading this will realise that for one reason or another – and without any blame or judgement – they were raised in an unhappy, glass half empty situation.

You see, if people are generally happy they tend to bounce over most problems with a spring in their step and an ‘oh well you’ve gotta laugh’ attitude.  Even when bereavement strikes them they tend to be people who, whilst deeply sad, can accept that there is an order to life that we don’t always like, and somehow deal with it gracefully.  Yes they may never be quite as happy as they were before but they do manage to create a life worth living.

Identification:

Now that you’ve realised what’s going on with you, or at least started to realise, I’m going to throw two horrible words at you that you may very well hate me for, choice and responsibility.

Choice and Responsibility:

There I’ve said them again.  They’re very uncomfortable words and ones that we all want to rebel against at times, but they have to be dealt with if living a happy life is something you’d like to give a real try.

We don’t realise how often we choose what happens but the irritating fact is that we very often do choose it.

Illness?

Heck no!  No matter what any thinker of any persuasion says I don’t believe that illness is a choice, sometimes holding on to it can be for personal reasons, but I honestly believe that no matter whether you’re a medical or alternative thinker no one has got to the bottom of the causes of illness and it is not something that we should ever attach judgement or blame to.

I’ll give you one good example.  My grandfather smoked 10 cigarettes a day and died of lung cancer at the age of 58, my grandmother, his wife, smoked upwards of 20 cigarettes a day and died of natural causes at the age of 87 1/2.  They both chose to smoke but the results were entirely different.  So no one knows and don’t bring illness into this discussion.

Yes, undoubtedly some people have a strong mind when it comes to ill-health and seem able to overcome things that others can’t – my mother was diagnosed with osteoarthritis when she was 37 and hasn’t taken a painkiller yet – but again we don’t know why that is and we shouldn’t speculate or judge.

Back to Real Life and Choice and Responsibility:

Said it again.  Whether you realise it or not you are making choices every day, from what you eat to the amount of exercise you take, but also whether you will stay in a career that makes you miserable or turn over every rock, stone and pebble to find a better one.   You are choosing whether to wear clothes that you feel good in, on thrown on a tight-fitting dress or t-shirt when you have water/beer bloat and wander around all day feeling like a blimp that’s lost its moorings.

I’m sure you can delve into your life and start noticing many more situations where, if you’re honest you’re making yourself unhappy and uncomfortable without anyone else’s help.  They may be responding to your lack of confidence by sensing it and putting you down, but have you ever seen a bully start on an obviously strong and centred person?  Of course not.  People who would have walked all over me in years gone by would stop if my husband gave them one look!

So, if you can see these sorts of things in your own life, and of course not all of you can, then you must take responsibility for it.  I stress MUST, because otherwise you give away your power.

Once you can say that’s my problem and I can go and get some help with confidence, managing finances, losing weight, from a better hairdresser, pop into my local department store and see if they have someone who does makeovers aka Gok Wan (a lot of them do) then you are on your way to change.

Start small.  Don’t get overwhelmed by tackling your whole life at once.  Do the simple things first so that you build confidence in yourself that you can change things.  And never, ever believe that you are naturally unlucky.  Anyone who makes choices and takes responsibility for them has a wealth of different things at their disposal to help them change.

Wishing you happy days, peaceful nights, and lots of easy patterns to change

Deb

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