A psychologist’s view of problems
Problems: everyone has them and nobody wants them. So, what do you do about them?
As a therapist, my world is full of problems. People talk to me about their problems and then celebrate with me when they overcome them. And over the years, I’ve noticed that the one common denominator is that we all have them.
Throughout my career, I’ve developed a philosophy about problems — spelled out in five key beliefs — that I find helpful. I’d like to share it in the hopes that it can help anyone who is experiencing a challenge or trying to work through a problem.
Belief #1: Problems have a time limit
This is important to remember when you’re in the toughest moments of your situation. The one thing you can be sure of in the world is that it will change — and this is also true for problems. If you’ve had problem for some time and you feel it’s not going away, consider that perhaps it means you need approach or tackle it from a completely different way.
Belief #2: What was once a solution can become a problem
If you look at your resources and give it enough time, sometimes you’ll find a solution right within a problem. For example, a difficult job challenge can look like a problem. But it might propel you to start your own business, which becomes a solution to helping you eventually leave that ‘problem’ job.
Belief #3: What you resist persists
Some people believe that ignoring a problem will make it go away. The truth is that the only way to truly resolve things is to walk through the pain and face them. Problems are a bit like milk — if you leave them out too long, they’ll become sour. Giving your problems some time and attention can make the difference between them continuing to be problems or becoming something nurturing that you can use.
Belief #4: All problems are neutral — it’s the attitude you face them with that matters
We’ve all seen those amazing people who have undergone extreme tragedies and yet had a positive attitude to move forward. In my opinion, this requires not letting the problem take control. The one thing we have complete say over is our attitude, and we need to use that to take control of the problem.
Belief #5: Problems are a great reason to go to counselling
Since psychologists and therapists don’t know you personally and are ‘outside’ your life, you can often get a neutral perspective from them. In my experience, people sometimes just need one or two sessions to help them get unstuck or see something from a new light. This allows them to dig deep and find the necessary resources to quickly move ahead.
If you’re facing a problem today, don’t give up. It’s important to remember that problems are time-limited, and they really can be a source of greatness. Give them a little time and attention with the right attitude, and you’ll see progress. But don’t be afraid to ask for help, either. An outside person like a psychologist can be a useful resource to help you work through things.