Imagine yourself living in the dark for days. Absolute darkness without any light. Wouldn’t you be looking for light with all you have? It can be depressing to be exposed to darkness that our problems cause. But, what if this darkness had a purpose? Maybe it meant to bring something to reveal the light that you have always been seeking? What if at the end of this dark period you could begin to see everything that light illuminate much better? What if our problems too came up in perfect timing like the dark of the night, because it is time for you to get an upgrade in life?

Problems put pressure on us. Sometimes they linger because the pressure is too much and we cannot lift from underneath to find a solution. When an unexpected challenge comes up we tend to resist. This is a natural reaction to discomfort to protect ourselves. Our bodies too respond in a similar way to danger or discomfort by switching to fight or flight response. However, when the body is in this survival mode too long our immune system gets compromised. We are not meant to stay under pressure over an extended period of time. At the same time when we avoid a challenge that come our way and choose to live in a hard protective shell we cannot manifest our potential. When a problem persists and you may close yourself and begin to feel consumed by the problem. As a result it becomes difficult to create a solution. We are meant to go through challenges and come out renewed and even illuminated. Pressure that problems cause helps us to come out of our shell and realize our potential. How then, can we deal with problems so that they don’t linger and they help us live better lives?

Naturally Solution Oriented

Think of how you went through problem solving since you were born. Your body has changed so much as you interacted with the world around you in many ways. In the process of learning to talk, get food, and walk you tried again and again until your actions resulted in getting what you need. You haven’t stopped when you came across challenges, you kept on trying. You naturally had a solution oriented attitude. While you cognitively improved to get what you need for your survival and to satisfy your curiosity in exploring your surroundings, your body also progressively developed. It processed the food you consumed to support your bodily functions and your physical growth. After your growth stopped at a certain age (~14-22) it kept on working to maintain what you have accumulated. This amazing operational unit that is your body is sufficient enough to be the most inspiring happening in your life and can help you understand the nature of problem solving and progression. You have all you need to continue to improve your problem solving skills for as long as you are alive, regardless of how long you have been in some kind of dark period. To start, you need to understand why the problem exists and persists.

Finding The Missing Element

To approach a solution it is helpful to identify the elements of the problem. Let’s have a look at a basic example to elaborate how. If you have ever taken a yoga class you understand what it takes to learn a complex yoga pose as a beginner. You need to go through the component parts of the pose first. For instance, if you want to do a headstand you need to learn how to arrange your shoulder blades, to get support from your core, to reach firmly straight through your legs, and to hold your pelvis in neutral position while upside down. You can practice each of these parts in many different ways then put it all together to finally build your headstand. You can identify the elements of your problem in a similar way. For instance, if you want to apply for a particular job, you would need to make sure that you are qualified for the position by finding out what the requirements are. Then you would check and see if there is anything you need to add into your skill set. Then to find ways to learn the missing skills. In this example all you need is highlighted on the list of requirements. But not all problems come with a list that tells you what you exactly need. And this is the missing element in most lingering problems.

You Are More Than Your Material Achievements

Sometimes you think you have all required elements but still cannot get the job you want try after try. Because today’s world imposes that you need to climb the steps to success through education and improving academic, and practical skills in a certain field to get the job you want. But the same system does not mention the emotional and psychological components involved in getting what you want in life and you certainly seek more than a job. You would want a nourishing relationship and better health too. What most people say is to not give up on your dreams, but you don’t know how to proceed when you fail after all you have added on your skill set. And you believe that if you keep trying “some day” you will get it. You should also know that you are more than your certifications, diplomas, and skills. In the complexity of being a “human being” you have to comprehend more than what your eyes can see. You need to be interested in seeking what you haven’t seen yet. The life you live in has more to offer to you than material achievements. What this means is that when you seem to have the same problem going on and you cannot see why, you need to start looking at somewhere you haven’t looked at yet. And the missing element is not something that you can get from outside but it is inside. You need to look within not “some day” but today and each day you face challenges.

Who You Think You Are

The same way we inherit most functions of our body through our DNA, we inherit many beliefs through the environment that hosts us growing up. How you communicate the world around you is something to do with how you see it. People who raised you, played with you, and educated you all played roles in shaping how you see the world and how you should survive, succeed, and live your life. Even your judgements are influenced by your past experiences just as your likes and dislikes are. Some of the knowledge is essential, some are useful most times, and some are absolutely trash. Why would you be holding trash in you? Because you are not aware that it is there. You may have a false belief that is preventing you from saying the right things, going to the right place, connecting the right people, etc. You may be avoiding a possible solution because what you need to do is making you uncomfortable inside. Maybe your problem is revealing what you don’t wish to remember from your past. Through the practice of meditation, you can start to get aquatinted with your subconscious world to see all the useless knowledge and beliefs that still resides in you. A contemplative intermission in these dark times can take you deep enough to see what needs to be released from your subconscious world. Through this you will begin to gain perspective that will help you manage your life more effectively. You will also discover your inner voice that can guide you at difficult times. It is through revealing what has been acting as a part of you and holding you down, you will begin to see solutions, hear your inner voice, and allow your potential to resurface.

Our Questions Build The Bridge To The Land Of Possibilities

The reason why a problem lingers is because you haven’t uncovered the solution yet. To uncover the solution you need to ask better questions and look at the places you haven’t looked at yet. Whenever a solution doesn’t work I ask “What is happening to me right now, how do I really feel about being in this situation?” Our frustration and first reactions can help us out if we listen to ourselves without judgement. A layer of emotions can cover the solution. But we need to see this layer so we can peel it off and see what is lying underneath. So let it dissolve by hearing all about the drama that your mind has created about the situation. The narrative may sound like “This happened because he/she did that, I can not proceed because I may lose this or I cannot leave because I have to take care of this other thing” etc. When you are sitting in the victim land and complaining, you are being a part of this land. To get out and discover a new land you need to sit across from the victim self in you and listen. To have a conversation with the part of you that sees the problem impossible or difficult will begin to move you closer to root of the problem. Because you are listening to someone who is in the victim land you need to accept those limitations too. Take note of the narrative because this will reveal your subconscious handicaps. Many people wait for the magic to happen to live on the bright side of life. What they don’t know is that they are sitting in the victim land and expecting the land to change itself. Everything we experience is an accumulation of energy. Therefore the energy needs to get transformed to reveal a different experience. You can use a problem as a catalyzer for transforming your life and to move yourself from one possibility to another. By asking brave new questions to find new answers you build a bridge from victim land to the land of possibilities.

Once the emotional layer begins to open itself ask your problem “What are you here for?” You may hear “It is time to leave this experience behind” or “It is time for you to see what else is possible” One of my favorite questions which also excite me in the process is “What is the inner message?” Life becomes your playground when you approach your challenges playfully and get exited while taking play seriously. Realizing that the problems come up because I need to graduate from my current position to something greater was a turning point in my life. All sorts of problems have the potential to upgrade your life. Isn’t this exciting? Approach your problems like you are in a game instead of avoiding them. Use your inner voice more often and stay curious about what you can explore next! If you don’t have a problem, you don’t get an upgrade.

Embrace Your Life Fully

Dark times and bright times exist to serve you. Like day and night they are perfect compliment for one another. Great achievements happen over time but big problems can surface in an instance.  As I came to see years ago that life has a reason to be the way it is. And all I need to do is to listen and walk bravely to live it fully.