At any given time everyone has 1-3 life problems, and the way you choose to approach those problems will determine the quality of your life, who you become, and what you create in life.
If you have the right strategy for handling your problems, you will be able to reap the benefits of them in the future.
The first way to reap the benefits of your problems is to focus on solving them instead of just coping with them.
One of my big life problems was feeling lonely and disconnected as an adult.
For the longest time I was coping with that problem by binge watching TV, overeating, and overly relying on my partner, all while avoiding the problem by telling myself it wasn’t as bad as I thought.
Whatever you’re doing to cope with the problem is probably creating more problems for you.
The longer you’re not dealing with it the bigger of an issue it becomes.
Coping is natural because solving a problem tends to be unpleasant.
Tackling a problem head on requires us to be honest with ourselves and acknowledge our shortcomings or mistakes.
For me, there was a deficit of social skills, confidence, and connection that I had created by avoiding this area of my life.
It can take time to resolve challenges and sometimes we’d rather not get started on that timeline because we are overwhelmed by it.
But time will catch up with you. You will be your future self at some point and your future self will have to deal with problems your current self didn’t.
Remember that by the time you get there, you will be the self who tackled this problem or the self who chose to just cope with it and didn’t face it head on.
Solving my problem with loneliness took a long time and it was very uncomfortable.
I did workbooks for social anxiety, I had to talk to a lot of people, and I was the planner for a really long time. I was always organizing activities and investing in those connections.
If you want to experience a future with the benefits of having overcome that problem, make sure you’re getting started.
The benefits of having overcome my problem are that I have new friends, I never feel lonely, I don’t have to plan things anymore because I get invited, and I feel happy.
The next way to reap the benefits of your problems is to make sure you solve them fully.
You could start to see come improvements and start coasting instead of seeing it all the way through.
With friendships, that would have been easy to do. I met a few people and it was good enough.
It wasn’t as painful as it was before, but I still felt socially anxious. I hadn’t created new best friends yet.
I'm glad I didn’t quit at that point because often when we half-resolve the problem and just coast, we return to the original problem at some point.
It’s better to stay committed and be honest with yourself about whether you have overcome the problem completely.
Try to avoid complaining about your problems.
It’s especially important to avoid thoughts about it not being fair that you have this problem when somebody else doesn’t.
For example, “It’s not fair that I have to learn all of these things about dating and somebody else just found their person in college and never had to think about it again.”
Who is going to make it fair?
There is no judge who takes a little bit of your problem and gives it to that person and shifts all the problems around so everybody has equal challenges in life.
When you go down that road mentally, you are ruminating. It’s another way to avoid facing your problem head on.
The last way to reap the benefits of your problems is to solve with your thoughts first.
In dating, I had a chosen problem, which was I wanted to meet men in person, and that came with a lot of difficulties.
One of the things I did was I wrote down the thought that would be in alignment with the result that I want: “Everybody wants to connect.”
It became much easier to solve the problem of how to meet men in person, rather than just forcing myself to do a bunch of things I was uncomfortable with.
You will always have more success with actually solving a problem and reaping the benefits of it if you look at it holistically, including your thoughts, feelings, and actions.
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