I’m sure you disagree with the above title of today’s blog post. Sure there is not a single person on this planet, who would be completely without any problems. There is pain, hatred, misery, injustice, fraud, violence everywhere. It is impossible to not call that problems, sometimes even world’s problems. Trump and the like if you will.
I disagree to call these problems. Ahhhh. Let me explain (and no, I’m not a Trump fan).
Everybody experiences tough life situations. In fact, some of the most brilliant people have had it pretty tough. Yeah, shit happens to everyone. And some people make problems out of it. Others don’t. There is a profound difference between life situations and problematic situations. For example, I crash in a car accident and end up in a wheelchair. This a serious and difficult life situation. Now, there are (at least) two options:
- I can cling onto this misery and expand it so that it will seriously damage and affect my relationships, my wellbeing, my job, even my explanatory style and cognition.
- I can deal with it simply for what it is: shit that happened and cannot be undone or reversed. In this case with profound and lasting consequences. Yet this doesn’t have to mean that I’m having a problem and that my whole life will have to suffer because of it. My relationships might still be something worth living for. I might adjust to my job or change it if it can’t be adjusted. And about my wellbeing, there is no external factor that could influence it. It is my decision on which only I decide how to go about it.
Want to hear a secret? The choice which way to go, lies entirely within your hands. John Weakland, Steve de Shazer’s predecessor with whom the roots of the Solution Focused Approach first began, was such a wise man, for he said the following:
“Life is one thing after another, problems are the same damn thing over and over again”
When something unexpected and unpleasant happens, it becomes a problem if you handle it in a way that doesn’t work, namely by repeating or applying some of the strategies leading you nowhere, such as mourning, hiding, performing bad habits, blaming others or yourself, fighting, attacking, or else. You name it, you know exactly what you are doing that doesn’t work. Yet do you know what does work? Not in theory but in practice?
If your answer is no, here’s some good news: you can learn. People are not born with this, people develop these skills to reckon what is useful in a certain situation and what is not. There are myriads of resources available on the web and dozens of trainings where you can learn how to do it and discover it in a way that is right for you. I’m not saying it will be easy – it took me about 3 years and I’m still not where I feel I ought to be, but my life has dramatically changed ever since. And it hasn’t changed because the circumstances have changed. It has changed because I chose to take it into my own hands.
You’ve got all the power you need to be a person without problems. No matter what shitty situations life brings you.