“You are not a problem that needs solving.” ~~Eckhart Tolle
“When it hurts—observe. Life is trying to teach you something.” ~~Anita Krizzan
“You can’t calm the storm, so stop trying. What you can do is calm yourself. The storm will pass.” ~~Timber Hawkeye
#4 Problems bother me only to the degree I permit.
I now better understand my problems.
I do not permit problems to overwhelm me.
As we settle in new patterns of behavior to help manage our lives during this global crisis, Statement #4 in action can be a lifesaver and game changer. For example, this past week my emotions have been on a roller coaster; filled with hope and ease one minute and seemingly seconds later, feeling gripped by fear, anger and uncertainty. Through this tidal wave of emotions, practicing Statement #4 enables me to slow down, investigate and move through uneasy or rapidly shifting feelings.
We are not our problems. A problem is an obstacle, something standing in the way on our path. It can be easy to enlarge or fixate on problems, which can lead to feeling overwhelmed. In the past, alcohol or drugs removed our ability to solve problems. Today, the WFS New Life Program enables us to first identify, manage and move through problems.
Here are 4 tools to aid in practicing Statement #4:
1. Control what is in your control: You are in charge of your mind, your thoughts and your life. We do not have control over what other people say, do or believe. Also, act within your home and world. Organize, clean or simply enjoy your space. Create manageable routines and adjust as necessary.
2. Limit daily news and social media: Give yourself a time limit each day on what you listen to, watch or scroll. Much like managing nutritional intake, provide a “No Social Media/News Zone” and examine how your energy and mental fitness responds.
3. Connect to positivity: No one knows when we can resume group activities right now, but we can connect to positive actions. Whether story time with grandchildren over our phones or iPads, it is possible to connect to others during this time of uncertainty. Do you craft? Sing? Sew? Organize? Are you exceptional with Excel? Find ways to give back to your community. Is a neighbor having a birthday? (Hint, just google “birthday parade” and have fun watching the videos)
4. Move or soothe your body: Walking, yoga, meditation and exercise help move the body, facilitate balance and boost our brains. Each day, carve out time for your physical self, even sitting outdoors connecting to nature can increase feelings of well-being. Planting flowers and gardening are excellent activities and can have beautiful or even tasty rewards.
How will you practice Statement #4 this week?
Hi 4C Women,
A problem, as Karen says, is an obstacle if we retreat because we are fearful of making a mistake, lacking confidence in our problem-solving skills and perhaps seeing “everything” as a problem, ending up learning nothing and losing the ability to trust our gut instincts. I sometimes place a number on a particular problem from 1 being a low priority and 10 being a top priority. I know it sounds just like those customer surveys at the end of a store visit or online ordering yet I feel it helps in determining the value of using my time and energy for a problem at a #3 compared to a #10. It also helps in visually seeing the importance of a problem. I can then focus on a solution rather than focusing solely on the problem. It provides a creative atmosphere in my mind to begin problem-solving. This has helped me in lessening the feeling of being overwhelmed to the point where I can’t function at all and that could become a trigger for me. So, it’s about generating solutions, comparing the options, make a plan or two, getting input, follow through and evaluate how the decision worked for me. I don’t know about you but I have learned more from my mistakes which have really shown me that I am resilient and have perseverance. Those are two characteristics I would not have used to define me in the past. There are always consequences to a solution so that becomes part of my problem-solving. Can I cope with the consequence? That’s important when you make your decision to act. It helps to know in advance the “what ifs” and being prepared to handle it. I like to sometimes use positive words/phrases like what is the “best” that could happen or “Imagine if” the best outcome happened.
I recently shared part of a letter my mother wrote many years ago about her journey as a single mom in the 1940s. I was 2 and my sister, Dawn, was 6. One night, there was only one can of soup in the house that my mom gave to my sister and me. She was crying, feeling all alone and blue. We lived in a narrow row house, 3 floors, one bathroom. She rented the bottom and top floor while we lived on the 2nd floor, using the bathroom to wash our dishes. The boarders stopped paying rent, my bio father stopped paying the $10 a week child support and my mother had no one. There was a knock at the door that night and when she opened it, there was a bag of oranges and apples. A little while later, another knock at the door and there was my aunt with a bag of groceries. My mom never shared her struggle so she felt somebody up above must have cared about her to send my aunt and a neighbor with much needed food. Here’s what really touched my heart. She says, “We really had it nice though. I put in my own linoleum and painted the back room for you and Dawn. Got a sofa bed to sleep on. I got a job working at a factory earning $40 a week and the family was together.” When I think of the situation we are all in now, I appreciate the courage and strength my mom possessed that I didn’t recognize until I first read that letter and now reading it again. Plus, my mom didn’t drive and either walked or took a bus. What a difference in how fortunate we are today to have technology to keep us connected, to have a caring support system and knowing it is perfectly ok to ask for help. I have shelter, food, a car, family, friends and even a new dog I can love. Her letter helped me so much with Statement #4. What I am learning is that we all respond differently even when we are all in the same circumstance. I’m understanding that there is a part of my mother in me and then the part that is struggling with fear, concern and just the unknown. I also accept that it is okay to experience these up and down feelings. And while my mother struggled alone, we do not. We have each other and that is a gift I plan on keeping and remembering long after this is over.
Bonded in strength, courage and learning how to problem solve in these challenging times, Dee