Empowering Problems or Solutions
“I was once asked why I don't participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I'll be there.” –Mother Theresa
It can be so easy to get swept up in thinking about the problems in our lives. They are so present and real for us, so attention-grabbing. Whether it’s a difficult boss, a dead-end job, a problem with a family member or friend, it’s easy to find ourselves lamenting our circumstances and mentally building our case against them. And yet in doing so, we are actually empowering the problem, feeding it with our energy and attention. How different life would look if we gave this kind of energy to envisioning the solution!
Now this is not to say that there is no room for negative thoughts or emotions in life. Everything has its place, and where there has been great pain or great anger, we must first acknowledge our experiences as valid in order to move through them and find integration. The key is simply in not getting stuck there. You can think of it as the difference between letting yourself have a good cry or being honest about your feelings versus constant “venting” or repeating arguments in your mind addressed at no one in particular.
When we catch ourselves in those negative mental spirals taking us nowhere fast, we know it’s time for a new perspective. The problem is clear. But what is the solution? We must redirect our energy toward the outcome we desire, empowering that intention and using it to inspire our next steps forward.
To see how this applies in your own life, try asking yourself the following questions:
What am I pushing against?
Is there a feeling within this that needs to be honored so that I can move on?
What would my ideal solution look like? Try to be as specific as possible, letting yourself envision the absolute ideal outcome without any interference from thoughts about what is “realistic.”
What is one tiny step I can take toward this ideal solution? It may be internal (like forgiving someone else or perhaps forgiving yourself) or external (like proposing a solution to a frustrating process at work, writing a letter to someone you’d like to reconcile with, or adopting a new habit to better serve your goals).
As always, be gentle with yourself and enjoy the journey inward.
Lots of love,