Connect with us

Life

The Problem Is Not Actually the Problem: Here’s Why

Avatar

Published

on

Image Credit: Unsplash

With my understanding of the Three Principles, which is deepening month-by-month, I’m becoming more curious about whether the ‘problem’ that we think we have, is really a problem. Not for one second am I dismissing a persons’ experience; I’m human after all and I encounter challenges and what I think are ‘problems’ just like the next person.

However, I know that when we get lost in our thinking, we can create problems that aren’t problems. If a problem was actually a problem, then we would all react to the ‘problem’ in the same way. However, it is our perception of our external reality, our thinking about what we perceive to be the problem. As we don’t all react to the ‘problem’ in the same way, the problem is not the problem. I’d like to explain this further, to help you see that this is the case.

I’ve worked with many people over time with such a broad range of presenting issues. I remember the heading ‘Presenting Problem’ being a prominent part of assessment tools that form part of the admission process across the range of mental health and addiction services.

Typical presenting problems have included:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Social isolation
  • Work pressures
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Assault
  • Progressive drug or alcohol use and possibly using substances via higher risk routes
  • Homelessness
  • A range of related physical health issues – DVT, Cancer, Diabetes, Asthma

I’d like to just briefly highlight some of the presenting problems that I’ve mentioned and show you that, through conversations that I’ve had with clients (respecting confidentiality of course), how we can learn quickly that the initial presentation is not the problem. Not only that, when the individual has realised this for themselves, it has changed their life.

Problem #1

‘Simon’ had a diagnosis of depression and was now starting to avoid social situations as he didn’t feel confident enough in groups. Through a conversation I learnt that Simon was just about holding down a full time job and was experiencing a lack of confidence in it – their boss was telling them that they need to improve their performance and was providing support systems in the workplace to do this.

We learnt together that Simon had once been told he ‘wasn’t good enough’ by his step-father and he carried that statement with him for almost 30 years. He’s generally been able to carry on with his life and feels confident most of the time.

Simon realised though, that the feedback from his boss had reminded him of being told he wasn’t good enough by his step-father many years ago. Simon gained an understanding that his feelings were as a result of his thinking in the moment, that he had carried an opinion from someone (which is not based on fact) over time and it had become part of his belief system. He had spent most of his life looking for confirmation to validate a statement made by one person.

This is why the comments from his boss (who he otherwise described as being very supportive) seemed to reinforce his step-father’s statement. He gained an insightful understanding that his experiences were actually coming from himself – his thinking.

I wonder if this is something you can relate to on any level?

Problem #2

Michelle was presented as suicidal and had recently experienced a miscarriage with what would have been her second child. Through a conversation, Michelle explained that she had become pregnant following a sexual assault. She had decided to keep the child, against the wishes of everyone in her family – including her husband. While they tried to be supportive, she felt they never really understood her and why she had wanted to keep the child.

Michelle realised that she had wanted to keep the child as a way to avoid ‘grieving’ following the sexual assault. She desperately wanted to have the child as a way of making something good out of the bad that had happened to her. She hadn’t had an opportunity to talk with someone who was listening impartially to her story. She felt that the miscarriage was now forcing her to grieve and she was scared of the feelings attached to the grieving.

Michelle gained a new perspective and realised that her feelings (all coming from her thinking associated with her situation) were natural and they were meant to be like that. She realised being fearful of the feelings were actually heightening her anxiety.

Problem #3

Peter presented with daily alcohol consumption and had recently started binging on cocaine on weekends. He was experiencing what he called a high level of stress and he felt the substances were helping him to cope with it.

During the conversation, Peter explained that he had inherited the family business following his fathers’ death. The business wasn’t new to him and he explained that he’d run the business for a long time whilst his father had been alive. The business had been in the family for over 40 years. 

Peter realised that the pressure was coming from himself to perform. He understood that he had been able to trust himself up until this point (he was now in his 50’s). Peter was able to see all the evidence, which pointed towards knowing that he can rely on himself. He had experience over many years running the business and didn’t want to let anybody down.

Through the insight, he found that his substance misuse behaviour totally changed and he became completely abstinent.

What’s really the problem?

On each of the examples I’ve mentioned, I’ve only briefly broken the conversations down and with that, tried to help you to see that what we think is our problem, might not be. It could be a symptom of the problem and very likely will be the case.

It is not that we need to delve into the past and talk about those issues to heal the now. That’s not my message. It’s more a case that we can realise we’ve carried certain feelings – attached to thoughts, which aren’t true. Catching on to that understanding is life changing. It was for me and also those clients I have reflected on.

It’s also not about being a positive thinker, which of course is great, but that would sound quite judgmental towards someone if they are being negative thinkers. It’s more than that, it runs deeper. It’s within you – it always is, always has been, and always will be.

By our design, we are meant to feel a particular way in relation to certain things and quite often fearing how we’re feeling about the problem, can be the problem. 

Consider a stream of water as a useful metaphor – or our ‘stream of thought.’ The end of the stream, if you like, being the presenting problem. By moving further up the stream – through a heartfelt and correctly guided conversation, the further we go, the closer we are to finding where the stream starts (or where the problem really is). We might also find that the problem we thought we had is not a problem.

Actually, all we need to remember is that everything is created with a thought and we can choose to think about those thoughts in a different way in any given moment.

What about this article resonated most with you and why? Share your thoughts with us below!

Dave Knight helps to change lives through a conversation that guides people back towards their innate health and wellbeing. With a background in mental health, addictions, business and sport, his time is being dedicated to educating people through Articles, his Bulletproof Yourself products, 1:1 work with clients; small groups, as well as articles. The focus of the work is to help people feel bulletproof against any area of challenge in their lives.

Life

5 Ways To Invest In Yourself and Change Your Life

Avatar

Published

on

Image Credit: Unsplash

Warren Buffett once said, the best investment you can ever make is in yourself. Time and money spent on bettering yourself are never considered a waste. Whether it’s through learning how to make money online, exploring new ways to increase your financial security, or watching TED talks to expand your knowledge. Do not be stingy when it comes to self-improvement because it will definitely pay off in the end. 

Need some ideas to get started on your journey to becoming a better you? Here are 5 ways to invest in yourself and transform your life. 

1. Change Your Self-Concept

Having a negative self-concept can have a tremendous impact on your life. Limiting beliefs and self-doubt are some of the main reasons why many never achieve or attempt to pursue their dreams. Take a moment and think about all the negative thoughts you have repeated to yourself throughout your life. How have these thoughts impacted the way you live life? From now on, create a new self-image by turning these negative thoughts into positive ones and appreciate your good qualities. 

2. Sign Up For An Online Course

If you’ve been wanting to brush up on your Photoshop skills or learn how to code professionally, this is the perfect time to get started. As long as you have a stable internet connection, you can access an endless amount of valuable information online. For example, sites like Coursera and Youtube are both awesome resources for online learning. With a few search strings and clicks, you can find all the information you need. 

“Investing in yourself is the best investment you can make. It will not only improve your life, it will improve the lives of all those around you.” – Robin Sharma

3. Learn From a Mentor

No matter which stage of your life you are currently in, working with a mentor can help you stay motivated and focused on your goals. Not only can they guide you in the right direction, but also transform your vision, provide you with new insights, and connect you with amazing resources. If you’re feeling unmotivated or unsure about what you want to do in life, consider finding a mentor to help you navigate this process. 

4. Start A Side Hustle

The salary from a 9-5 job would rarely allow you to reach your maximum income potential. Why not achieve financial success while pursuing your passion by starting a side hustle? Whether it’s through starting an ecommerce business, freelance writing on the side, or starting a Youtube channel. There are infinite numbers of ways to make money, and there is bound to be one out there that fits your passion and skills. 

5. Nourish Your Body

As many may say, “health is the new wealth”. Without a healthy and functioning body, living a fulfilling and comfortable life becomes difficult. To take care of your body and prioritize your wellbeing, start with small habits such as eating healthier foods and exercising regularly. Bike or walk to work instead of taking the car, and opt for a healthy protein bowl instead of greasy burgers at Burger King. With time, these small habits can make an incredible difference.

Check out the infographic below, to see more ways you can invest in yourself:

home-electrification

Continue Reading

Life

How to Turn Inward and Detox Your Mind

Avatar

Published

on

Image Credit: Unsplash

When we are overwhelmed by confusion, our psyche tries to establish certainty to alleviate our discomfort. This is usually accomplished by mentally imagining and acting out a plot. Unfortunately, much of the time, we mentally visualize pessimistic (or worst-case scenario) scenarios to provide certainty. (more…)

Continue Reading

Life

12 Things to Give Up if You Want to Be Productive

Avatar

Published

on

Image Credit: Unsplash

It’s almost euphoric, the feeling of ticking away boxes on the to-do list, at the end of a long day. It’s like you have seized the day or something. With cell phones buzzing every minute with notifications or ringing with a large number of versatile options, it can be hard to maintain focus on your work, and be productive. Luckily with a little determination and following some tips, you can be productive, provided you either cut down on certain things or give them up altogether. (more…)

Continue Reading

Life

5 Tips to Stop the Snowball Effect of Negative Thinking

Avatar

Published

on

Image Credit: Unsplash

Humans are full of complex emotions, but it’s what makes us us. We go through good times and tough times and still keep our heads held high. Life is all about experiencing different things and making memories. Constant change and new experiences are what keep us growing as a person. However, sometimes when we face hardship, it can be hard to move on from it. (more…)

Continue Reading

Trending