04/15/2014 12:03 pm ET Updated Jun 15, 2014

Problems Or Challenges: Which Do You Have?

When I hear someone say they have a 'problem,' it sounds like nails on a chalkboard to me. I do not like the word, 'problem.' When I hear it, it makes me think that the person who spoke it has already made up their mind to hang on to whatever it is and not let it go -- that they have adopted the belief that a negative situation is now a part of their identity... a health problem, a financial problem, etc. It has become something that defines them.

I believe that we have 'challenges' in life, not 'problems.' Challenges are blessings in disguise. They have an important purpose. They exist for our soul's pursuit of enlightenment. Challenges are gifts that allow us a chance to enhance our lives, not to worsen them.
By shifting our wording from 'problem' to 'challenge,' any situation can be repurposed, opening one up to seeing it in an entirely new light.

Take a look at a few fundamental ways in which problems and challenges differ, and maybe you, too, will start choosing the statements you make about your life more carefully.

1) Roommates or Houseguests
Problems move in with you and don't leave. They are more permanent in nature. Your normal life gets uprooted as you allow negative circumstances to take root in your space and grow.
Challenges are merely houseguests. They are transient in nature. You cater to their needs for a time, but continue to live your life.

2) Past and Future or Present
Problems take the mind into the past and the future, causing stress, anxiety, fear, anger, depression, and resentment. Problems "cord" you to one or more emotions that can run amok and steal your personal power. When a negative emotion takes over in a situation, it's imperative to stop for a moment and take your power back from it.

Challenges, on the other hand, take place in the now. You know they are in your mind only temporarily. Challenges only live in the moment and denote a current life lesson -- a teacher from which to learn. The lesson ends, and you move on.

3) Attachment or Detachment
Problems are ego-based. The ego only wants to control. It has no interest in your enlightenment. When you catch yourself saying, ' I, My, Me, Myself ' a lot, you've attached to something and made it the focus of your attention and the more energy you give it, the bigger it gets.

Challenges are based on surrender. You know there is a bigger picture unfolding, and that you are in control of absolutely nothing. You are detached from your challenges. They are not part of you. They have a completely separate identity. Viewing something as a challenge gives you the ability to pull your energy back and recognize that your circumstances are not who you are.

Problems bring darkness to our lives, but challenges illuminate our paths. Challenges are like waves crashing one by one along the surface of the ocean and dissipating, while the deep, still, ocean stays steady underneath... This is how I choose to see the bumps in life. Challenges are golden opportunities to uncover other layers of the self, shedding light on those areas that need healing. They take us to a higher level of our existence, allowing us to raise our consciousness and seek balance, remaining centered in the face of adversity.

Challenges are positive, and though they may seem disturbing at first, prove to be the essence of why we are here on the planet. So the next time you're tempted to say you're having a 'problem,' say you're having a 'challenge,' instead, and remind yourself that it is in the chaos that the angels are doing their best work.