Everyone has problems in everyday life, sometimes multiple problems at the same time. The extent to which these problems plague you depends on how you handle them.
For example, if your problem is that you’re perpetually late, you can stick your head in the sand and refuse to deal with it. Your lateness might not seem like an issue so you do nothing about it. Maybe your friends complain when you keep them waiting. Maybe your boss makes a snarky comment. And still you choose to ignore your problem.
That may work until your friends stop meeting you and your boss fires you. So avoiding dealing with your problems just make matters worse. It may be human nature to procrastinate, but the sooner you put your mind to fixing your problem, the sooner you find a solution. And the better off you’ll be in the long run.
Stop seeing problems as bad. If you think of your problem as a threat, or a terrible obstacle, or a weakness or failure, you might find it too overwhelming to tackle. But remember, everyone has problems. If you think of them as challenges that you can and will solve, then you have a good start. And when you solve a problem, then you have one less thing nagging at you—one less worry.
Start paying attention to your emotions. You feel stressed when you get to work and everyone else is already in a meeting. You feel upset when you meet your friends and they’re short with you. Your anxiety and stress and difficulty in relationships are signals you can use to find your core problem. Your friends are short with you because they feel you disrespect and inconvenience them. Your work colleagues need to get the job done, regardless of how unreliable you are to be there and contribute. If you analyze these situations you will note that your negative emotions are caused by the fact that you’re late.
Define the issue objectively. It’s tough to be objective about your own problems. It’s so much easier to blame others. Your friends are too sensitive when you’re late. Your boss is too demanding. But down deep you know there’s a pattern here. So take a look at the salient facts. People are ticked off that you’re late. You are putting your friendships and your job at risk. If you’re objective about it, you are the one causing the problem. And you can be the one to fix it.
Set some goals for solving your problem. Be specific. If you just want your boss and your friends to be less angry with you, that’s a goal, but not one you can measure and meet. A more specific goal would be to be five minutes early for meetings and work. But be realistic about it. You can’t expect to be perfect every time. There will be some backsliding. There will be times when you don’t meet your goal. Don’t beat yourself up about it. A long-term goal might be to make a habit out of being on time.
Next time we’ll talk about how to find solutions to your problems and how to keep your solutions working for you.
Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: https://www.nancyscounselingcorner.com/contact