Our problems aren’t always what they seem. Perhaps, in fact, they're never what they seem...
A client shared how dishes can be a problem in her marriage. She and her husband have different ideas about the best approach to cleaning the dishes. Sometimes they get upset with each other about it. Frustration comes out. Anger comes out. One or both of them ends up feeling hurt, unseen, unloved, or disrespected.
It’s not about the dishes.
Just this morning, no joke, I got frustrated with how one of my kids handled his dirty breakfast dishes.
It’s not about the dishes.
In the classroom, kids don’t always act “right”, they don’t always focus as they “should”, they don't always care about the things they're "supposed" to care about.
It's not about students’ behavior.
Sometimes my wife’s tone gets to me.
It’s not about her tone.
Sometimes we get stressed about getting work done on time.
It’s not about the work being done on time.
When we’re ghosted, ignored, invalidated, or brushed aside.
It’s not about how we’ve been treated.
When nothing seems to be going our way or we think we’ve failed.
It’s not about the potential failure.
When I’m judging myself and feeling down.
It’s not about the self-judgments and criticisms.
When the money feels short.
It's not about the money.
So if it’s not about the dishes, what's it about???
Yes! With this question, we begin to step through the illusion of the problem.
Perhaps the problem has nothing to do with dishes or behavior or results or respect, and everything to do with an opening, an opportunity for growth, a fertile spot within us for new spiritual, emotional, physical, and mental growth.
There never really is a problem. "Problem" is just a label we slap onto a circumstance that doesn't look the way we think it's supposed to look. It's thinking that our lives and the people in them have to line up and look just right for us to feel free, loved, and safe.
So the "problem" actually points us to an opportunity - every time. It's an opportunity, an opening, a fertile plot of soil. It's a reminder to tend our gardens - our spiritual, physical, emotional, and mental gardens.
Others can help us look, explore, and poke around the territory, but only we can say for ourselves what's really underneath the "problem".
So I invite you: next time you're feeling stressed, anxious, frustrated, angry, or resigned, take a deeper look and ask yourself, "If it's not really about this situation, what's this problem about? What's the opportunity for growth here?"
Thanks so much for reading. ❤️
P.S. If you're interested in exploring how working with me can turn your "problems" into inspiring and powerful opportunities for growth, schedule a free exploration conversation with me today.