Relationships: Solving and Resolving Life’s Problems

By Barton Goldsmith
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

A lot of people long for a magic bullet that would make all their problems disappear. The truth is that there isn’t one, and we have to think and work our way through our issues, both personal and professional.

No quick fix or Pollyanna affirmation is going to change everything for the better. The truth is that make positive life changes is often hard work. This is where learning and believing that you have the power to resolve your own issues can make a big difference. So can the insights of a good professional advisor.

No one can take away all your troubles, but talking about them can help shed light on how to get through a difficult issue. That’s how therapy works. Sharing your problem with another person will lighten your burden, and a professional may also be able to provide some good suggestions as well as the emotional support that you need to face what’s in front of you.

You also may find that brainstorming with a friend or even a group will help you find new ideas to help you move forward. When you know someone has your back, that emotional support can make all the difference.

Learning that it’s okay to talk about our problems can feel a bit like a trip to the dentist. You know that the discomfort will stop once you get the tooth fixed, but you don’t want to go though the process to begin with because it hurts.

And sometimes, with emotional issues, you may be embarrassed about sharing what’s really going on for you. But talking with a good friend or intimate other may help you get the nonjudgmental emotional support that you need to see things through. All you need to do is open up about what’s going on.

There will always be problems in our lives, and sometimes we don’t have the capacity to handle them all by ourselves. Getting a 360-degree view is impossible when you are in the middle of a dilemma. Talking things over with your mate or a trusted friend can give you some much-needed perspective.

You may want to try dictating your problem while the other person takes notes. Seeing it in writing and getting feedback is only going to give you greater clarity.

Having the problem in writing also creates a checklist that you can use later in resolving the issue. As you return to the list, you will see where you have accomplished some goals and where you can add some new ones.

Everyone encounters problems. Sometimes we make them bigger than they need to be, and sometimes we choose not to look at them. Be sure to keep your head out of the sand to see what is going on around you. Ignoring your problems will get your nowhere.

Remember, too, that not every problem has to be solved by you. Some problems resolve themselves, and others just go away. Having patience helps. All you have to do is listen to the voice inside your head and heart, and trust others to help you through.

Dr. Barton Goldsmith, is a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, Calif., is the author, most recently, of “The Happy Couple – How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time.”

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