My counselor was a bit of a maverick. Every year I signed a paper saying that his counseling was not conventional and I was fully aware that he went off the beaten path of “accepted therapy.” I’m so glad he did. He approached my issues totally different than the other people I knew that visited with him. He treated each of us to our own challenges. His talent was getting inside my head and showing me a knew way to look at my World. One of the most intriguing concepts he taught me was the person that is up set is the person with the problem. The other person they are upset at are often oblivious as to why they are upset. He gave me a great article using the example of a teenager spending hours on the phone and the mother is upset about it. The teenager has no problem being on the phone for hours, it is the mother with the problem. Mother gets angry and the teenager looks at her like she grew a second head because the teenager has no problem with how they are behaving. This story started a long series of lesson on how to solve my problems.
First step define the problem. I learned a ton about this when I was a computer tech. I can’t solve a problem if I don’t know what it is. In fact, about 50% of solving a problem is defining it.
Second step, decide whose problem is it. If it is not my problem to solve stop beating myself up about it. I stopped taking a daily newspaper because everyday I was exposed to problems that were not mine to fix. I felt sad and worried about thing I can do nothing about. I stay informed but not first thing in the morning. Once I decide it is my problem to fix I go to a reminder.
Reminder to self….the only person I can control changing is me. Anyone else, I can request, suggest, nag, or ask but I can’t make the other person change.
For me, the next step is to decide can I tolerate the problem or do I feel compelled to fix it? This is a self exploration task. One of the things I learned in counseling is I can adapt to any hell. My counselor worked at teaching me to stop adapting.
Sometimes the solution is simple, change my attitude or avoid the person that is unpleasant (best choice on the freeway).
Sometimes the problem is more complex so I look up someone else having the same problem and did they write a blog about it? A group of people writing blogs about narcissistic parents changed my life in the best way possible, research, looking around at other people’s solutions, finding out options. One of the powerful things my counselor taught me – I Have CHOICES. Believe me this was a new concept. I grew up with “do it or there will be blood on the saddle” that was usually painful for me. I struggle with the “I have to” syndrome. Learning I have choices WOWSER!!!!
Next is make a decision…..amazing how long I can waffle over a problem. Sometimes I use the flip the coin method, if I flip a coin and I don’t like the answer then I wanted the other one.
Do what I decided to do. Many self help books stop at this step. Not my counselor. He pointed out that my decision making abilities were faulty. Teenagers go through rebellion and experimentation that I didn’t do. I was too busy being the adult.
After trying a choice for a while…..take time to evaluate if I am getting the results I desired. If I need to alter my choice, change my mind, explore a new solution. Again back to that C work CHOICE. Choose, change my mind, try, fail, getup again, try something else, try fail, getup again yup a fairly basic formula that has many possibilities.