Did you ever have a problem?

I wish you could see my smile while I wrote this more than rhetorical questions. Who didn’t have a problem in their life? Every single being on this planet not only had problems but we all still do and will. Small ones, bigger ones, devastating ones, first world problems – problems come in many different forms, but they accompany us throughout life.

The problem with ‘real’ problems is, that either they hide from us or we hide from them. Which makes it difficult to solve them, because either we are not aware of the problem itself or we know that there is a problem, but we try to numb it, ignore it or distract ourselves in order to not thinking about it. Does this sound familiar? I bet. On one hand, it just makes sense if we take on the problem, acknowledge it and find a solution for it. We feel released and there is one less problem in our lives. On the other hand, there is a reason why problems hide from us (which actually means our subconscious is hiding it from us, which again means that we are hiding it from ourselves) or why we hide from them – and both happen for a reason. Wouldn’t it feel releasing if we could simply face the problem, find a solution and move on to the next chapter in life? Having more energy for the beautiful things in life? Instead of worrying about something day in, day out, we could spend this time and energy on enjoying the present moment and make choices, which will help to create the future and the life we really want. Do you know anyone who would rather chose to spend all their energy on problems, instead of dealing with the creation of the life of their dreams? More time for the creation of the life of our dreams – isn’t that a solid motivation to take a closer look at the problems at hand?

The first question everyone with a problem needs to ask themselves is, why am I hiding from it? Or is there a problem holding me back that I can’t see right now, that is hiding from me (aka is my subconscious hiding something from me)?

Most times the underlying problem, no matter what the details are, is either fear or shame.

We are stronger than fear or shame. While fear is more tangible for most people, shame is something we still don’t talk about as much. When it comes to fear we know, that we need to find the courage to overcome it. Especially when it comes to problems, we are often afraid of things that could perhaps arise, so we don’t worry about facts but about illusions. There are more possible outcomes, than the worst we one we often spend so much time on. When we are feeling fear, we focus more on the negative outcome. We are talking about the kind of fear that is not helpful. Fear is a natural instinct and helps us to stay alive in dangerous situations. A natural instinct we have inherited from our ancestors, who were living in much more dangerous times and needed to be on guard all the time. However, fear is something we can handle more or less, but we have a much better idea of what it is and how to handle and overcome it after all. Whereas shame is something, we are rather ashamed to talk about, ironically. For many people it seems much easier to talk about fears, than about the things they are ashamed of.

Here are a few words on shame from world’s best shame researcher (amongst all the other wonderful work she does) Brené Brown:

“I define shame as the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging – something we’ve experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection.

I don’t believe shame is helpful or productive. In fact, I think shame is much more likely to be the source of destructive, hurtful behavior than the solution or cure. I think the fear of disconnection can make us dangerous.“

The underlying emotion behind shame is also fear! Which is good news, because it means we are somehow able to address it as well because we have experienced fear and overcame fear before. Fear and shame have a lot in common. At the same time Brené clarifies how dangerous this type of fear can be and that we can harm ourselves with it. Shame is more likely to leave us static or making decisions that harm ourselves, and maybe others.

My point is, that once we bring awareness to the reason, why we hide from a problem, we have the chance to face the problem. Every time we question things and find their reason, we bring our awareness to it. Just awareness. We might not accept or believe it yet. We might not yet know what to do with this information yet. It might leave us confused, that the problem can be solved and there was not necessary to hide from it after all.

Let’s look back to our ancestors, living in the wilderness. When they were hiding, they did it in order to survive. The second they were found, it meant they had lost the fight. Problems also hide (subconsciously), or we hide them (consciously), because there is a reason why they want to exist in our lives. Those problems try to survive if you will. Some part within ourselves thinks that it would be easier to live with the problem, than bringing the awareness to it, unveil it, face it and solve it. We sabotage ourselves. We stand in our own way because we give in to fear or shame. Fear can be so strong, that we don’t give ourselves even the chance to think about the positive outcome. This though, is just a conditioning. Something our mind learned over time. It is an automatic response to certain problems, that we created. It is like a playlist, the mind automatically plays as soon as certain emotions arise. We don’t think clearly. We don’t even make our own choices; our mind makes them for us. To be fair, it does it believing this behavior will safe us, when it actually might do the exact opposite.

The key to win over the mind, is creating awareness to what really is. How? Through questioning our decisions, our emotions and their reasons. It means questioning the way we see things. It means creating clarity, if we are hiding something or from something or if we are really making a decision based on what we really want.

This requires a lot of self-reflection and being open to ourselves and self-confident enough to admit when it is time to change course and face the fear, face the problem and eventually solve the problem.

It is a lot of work. But remember what I said at the beginning about a life where we simply face problems, solve them in order to have more time and energy to focus on the creation of the life of our dreams.

I believe any effort is worth it, when we obtain the freedom of making our own choices (instead of our mind automatically making them for us) and creating the life, that we want.

Waking up being excited for the day ahead. Knowing that we are stronger than any problem that will arise because we will face it, find a solution and then move on in order to focus on what we are really passionate about. Already knowing that the next challenges are on their way.

Let’s take life in our own hands and get those problems out of the way! Do you already have a problem on your mind, that wants to be solved?