“When you can’t control what’s happening, challenge yourself to control how you respond to what’s happening. That’s where your power is.”
“One of the hardest things I’ve had to understand is that closure comes from within. Especially if you have been betrayed by someone you love because you feel like you gotta let them know the pain they caused, but the peace you seek can only be given to you by you.”
“When you find no solution to a problem, it’s probably not a problem to be solved but a truth to be accepted.”
#4 Problems bother me only to the degree I permit.
I now better understand my problems.
I do not permit problems to overwhelm me.
In the past I thought drinking was a normal escape from problems; I actually felt quite adult-like when complaining about whatever the issue was with a drink in hand. This behavior was modeled again and again throughout my life and it felt like a rite of passage. What I could not comprehend at the time though was that nothing was ever solved and looking back, it appears as if it was nothing more than a grown-up type of tantrum.
However, sobriety and Statement #4 in action lead to the opposite results; toward a conclusion, towards understanding, and growth. Instead of drinking at problems, WFS has taught me to examine an issue and to keep trying solutions. Oftentimes in the past, I got stuck going in circles trying to identify where the problem came from but with the practice of Statement #4, I learned this was simply another form of avoidance.
If a problem isn’t solved the first go-round, it’s time to try something different and don’t quit. Like the old adage, “fall down seven, get up eight” which maintains forward motion. Sometimes the problem doesn’t even belong; this can change dramatically when the veil of being the scapegoat is lifted. In our WFS Program booklet our founder, Jean Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. affirms this about problem-solving; “The value of this Statement is in learning that we can control our reactions.” Instead of knee-jerk reacting to an issue (which historically did not go well), I continue to learn how to pause, reflect, or ask for help. Asking can be the most difficult, but it opens the door to fresh ideas and instills feelings of trust. Here are some basics for problem-solving:
- Refuel with sleep: Just like a car cannot continue on a near-empty tank of fuel, our mind and body must be refueled with sleep each night.
- Ask questions: Dive deeper into the issue with questions. Sometimes simple questions can hone into a solution immediately, others can draw out multiple solutions. Writing or journaling can help identify answers, and patterns or offer acceptance.
- Pause but don’t procrastinate: Sometimes simply pausing can refresh your outlook but be wary of procrastination. I have been stuck creatively recently and have procrastinated with multiple projects which have created more distress. Give your pause a deadline (note to self!)
- Know you are the director of your own movie/life: While you cannot control what happens around you, you are in control of your reactions. Define your story on your terms, not by someone else’s story. Design your set, change the cast of characters as needed, and edit and slice together pieces that work beautifully. Create the masterpiece that is your life.
Dear 4C women,
I like the title of Director of our lives. I also once heard that we are the CEO of our lives. Just as a director, we create the boundaries, and the values that our lives are guided by, being empowered to hire those who add to our lives and fire those that cause harm, finding our purpose, and working on solving problems/concerns that arise. Do you ever wish you could quit that job? Do you wish someone else would come along and solve your life problems? I think that is typical yet I have learned the hard way that it provides little space for growth. I have found that I can handle problems as long as they don’t come all at once or in multiples in a short period of time. I also reflect on what are real concern and just ordinary problem that sometimes resolves themselves.
Concerns usually require a lot more attention. When I feel overwhelmed with a concern, I might cry first, then cry a little bit more, and finally, pause and share with someone I trust about what is happening. I appreciate being heard and gaining insight into different ways of approaching my concern. The final decision is, of course, mine. Yet, just as we do not have to go through our recovery journey alone, we also have 4C women and resources to help ease a burden when it seems so painful and even unsolvable at the time. The important thing is to be heard, not judged or told what to do. Hearing others share similar experiences is a reminder that we have much in common and can learn from others, even find possible solutions that we had not thought of. WFS encourages us to listen and share experiences but not tell someone what to do. The reason behind that is if it doesn’t work out, the woman may become so angry or embarrassed that it didn’t work and not come back to a meeting feeling she failed at what she was told to do. The one thing we don’t want is for a woman to not feel safe in sharing and rather than learning, feeling supported, and encouraged, she feels just the opposite. For me, this is the beauty of how WFS works. We learn, we share, we give lots of support and encouragement and we grow confident in our decision-making/problem-solving skills. This does not mean we always make the right decisions but that’s absolutely ok! It’s part of learning and not beating ourselves up. We build on both our mistakes and our successes which we give back by sharing.
Do you have a safe and encouraging support system?
How have you changed your reaction to problems or concerns?
What are some coping skills you could share with others struggling right now?
What is one of the lessons you have learned from a mistake or success?
Bonded in learning problem-solving skills, supporting each other and sharing our lessons, Dee
Our Keynote Speakers for the 2023 WFS Virtual Conference are all amazing women and renowned authors and each has their own take on self-healing and growth. Come and join us online June 9th-11th!