Thursday, June 4, 2015

How To Solve Problems the Hard Way

Photo by Johnny Ainsworth

You wanna know how to solve things the hard way?  Of course you don't!  But the reality is that you're already doing things the hard way.  It's how we're wired.  Lessons are hard to learn if there is no pain involved.  Right?  We think that if it's too easy, then something must be off. 

The hard way is so much worse than you know.  Think about it for a second.  There is usually left over damage done to ourselves and to others.  What's worse is that the damage doesn't really go away.   It just shows up in other places like through illnesses and disease, in relationships, in our beliefs, and similar and sometimes more severe problems.  It may seem like negativity pops up out of nowhere or something small happens and a heavy curtain of negative emotions comes down on top of it.  You're left wondering why you feel so strongly about it. 

Let's shift our focus on the word solve instead.
to find the answer or explanation for; clear up;explain
What stands out to me is that there is a sense of finality in that word.  This is possible for any problem if you handle things the right way.  Let's go through a recent example.

I have a friend who I think is making a big mistake.   I've tried reasoning and pleading my case, but no dice.  The decision has been made.  When we last spoke,  I felt really sad and a bit disappointed about it.

So here we have a problem and usually when a problem comes up, it's so easy to talk ourselves out of how we feel, because who wants to feel sucky?  No one, unless you're a masochist.

Well, what we don't know is that our feelings are the solution. 

Say what now??  

You read right.  Our feelings are the key to solving the problem.

It is vital to allow ourselves to feel how we are truly feeling in the moment.   We have to get deep into the emotion to unlock what it is here to tell us.  By pushing away negative feelings in favor of better feeling ones, we are ultimately inviting the problem to stick around and come back anytime wearing different costumes.  Lol

But that is so hard!  I don't want to go down that rabbit hole and I know you don't want to either.  But ask yourself, isn't that easier than having to deal with the same problem over and over again?
There are so many techniques of there to help you work through the emotion.  Meditation, yoga,  prayer, journaling, therapy, nature walks, hypnosis, and so on are all there to help you push through what you are feeling.  I like to use Emotional Freedom Technique or EFT.

Photo by BK

Here's how I applied it to my problem:

I tapped on how I felt: sad and disappointed.  I tapped on how it felt in my body.  It felt like my stomach was hollow.  I tapped on the situation in as much detail as I could.  I did a few rounds.  Those feelings began to subside,  but rejection and a sense of loss came up for me, so I tapped on those feelings too.

Since it was late at night, I was worried that it would be hard to fall asleep.  I was also worried that I would have uncomfortable dreams about the situation and then wake up feeling the same way.

In the morning, I woke up before my alarm, which never happens.  I had a great night sleep without any dreams about what happened.  I felt lighter, but I still felt a tinge of sadness, so I tapped on it again.  

The feeling disappeared almost immediately, so I tapped on the belief that had caused the sadness.  Then I tapped on how I wanted to feel and on the lesson that I could learn from the situation: the true meaning of friendship, dangers of fear, living life to the fullest, and such.  By the end of the session, I felt this sense of peace. 

What makes it hard is having to go through and truly feel the feelings that make you uncomfortable.  They are trapped until you acknowledge and release them and feeling them is the way to do it.

When you release the feeling, your problem turns into something that happened.  It may still need to be handled, but the emotional charge is lessened greatly or no longer there.  This makes it easier to work it out. 

So give it a try, think of a problem and ask yourself the following questions:
  • How do you feel about that problem?  
  • Where in your body do you feel these feelings?  
  • What's the intensity of those feelings? 
  • Is there anything else that comes up when thinking about this problem? 
  • Do you feel a sense of anxiety? 
  • Does this remind you of a problem that you've had before?  If so, break down the problem.   What are the similarities?  We're looking for a root cause here.
  • Do you find that situations like this have warranted the same emotional reaction? 
  • How have you reacted to the problem?  
  • How do you want to feel if a problem like this ever comes up again? 

Write down your responses and read them allowed.  Sit with the emotions in silence.  Acknowledge them.  Ask what the emotion is there to show you.  I know this sounds a little weird or woo woo, but when my therapist took me through this exercise, surprisingly, a response would come up for me and I was able to work through it.

Sometimes the emotion is there to show you something that needs attention or to teach you a lesson that you need in going forward.  The intensity of negative emotions usually makes it hard to hear the message. 

The message that I got was that people are human beings on this Earth to do things with free choice.  It reminded me to have compassion for what others go through.  The biggest lesson was that life wasn't meant for me to sit on the fence.  Every decision may not be a perfect decision, but I have a great support system to help me through anything that happens.  Don't let fear force your hand.  Have faith and be patient. 

In the end, this problem was really an answer and a lesson.  What are your problems telling you?  

Please feel free to share as your experiences below as they are very helpful to others who are also on this journey.

Are you following me on Instagram??  You should!  I'm not a mad poster, but I do share some of my travel adventures, positive quotes and things that speak to me, as well as some personal updates.  Be sure to follow me, so you don't miss out!  Until next time, peace and blessings to you all!


  1. Wow!! This is Precisely What I needed to learn today!! Thank you So Much

    1. You are so welcome, Tara! Glad that it was helpful. :-)

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