When I was younger, I had several recurring problems that would get me ranting. A few relationship problems immediately come to mind. The real problem, back then, wasn't the recurring problems as much as it was the way I looked at them and the way I approached them. I'd been taught to hate problems, and I'd been told that you had to solve a problem and fix it once and for all, or you'd failed. And with many problems I couldn't understand why I couldn't manage to simply do that. I began to think, "There must be something wrong with me."
There's an inherent problem with making one's life about solving problems -- it's like lopping branches from a poison ivy vine. If you don't get to the root, it grows 10 more in no time. It's not specific problems that cause ongoing pain. It's the root of all problems that cause the pain to remain. And, you'll never get to the root of your problems until you stop hating them. When you stop hating them, life immediately becomes less problematic.
A model of reality fraught with thoughts of problems ensnares you in a world stuffed with unnecessary difficulties. When I was a growing up, and a problem ensued, I'd been taught to take a logical point of view. "Go to your head, Bobby, and look for a mathematical method or scientific means of solving the problem." I aspired to come up with a formula that would give me a solution. I even read several books that offered systematic strategies and organized plans-of-action that guarantee solutions to problems. But the problem with this ambitious approach is that it doesn't resolve the underlying issue -- the attitude that life is inherently problematic and problem-solving is a dreary part of living that we have to do.
The problem with seeking solutions to problems while holding onto the above attitude is that we look at our problems as unwanted and harmful intrusions that need to be conquered. And, even if we do manage to get intellectual satisfaction, it's never long-lasting. The problem grows another branch; it takes on another form. There it is, once again, back to torment us.
After 70 years of trying to solve problems, it has become apparent to me that there's a better way to go: Rather than solve, learn to dissolve them. That is the key to taking yourself out of a world of frustration and placing yourself in a world of satisfaction. A life of solving problems creates a life of disappointments, while dissolving the same problems offers peace. And, peace creates space to respond to life creatively.
So what can you do so you stop hating your problems immediately? You must be willing to adopt a whole new point of view about the purpose for your problems. Seeing your problems differently gives you a new relationship with them -- a relationship that allows you to dissolve them. Stop seeing your problems as troubling situations, and instead, look at them as opportunities to learn something new about the mysteries of life and the wonders of you.
When you see your problems as learning opportunities, you elevate your consciousness above the pettiness of warring with life when your future doesn't unfold as you want it to. You stop insisting that the world's wrong and you're right. Instead, you find yourself in a curious and refreshing state of mind. It feels very much like you've just taken an invigorating shower. The mental state of confusion and the attitude of agitation quickly wash away, as an experience of purity overcomes you. There's nothing to prove, nothing to resist. Your creative juices begin flowing. And, now you begin responding to life in novel ways that dissolve your problems in the process of living.
Lasting feelings of joy and bliss only exist when you dissolve your problems by seeing them for what they really are -- opportunities to see yourself and life differently so you can bring into your world new experiences that empower you. Here are five easy steps to help you dissolve your problems and empower yourself:
Step One: Stop identifying with your problems; stop taking them personally. Stop assuming that your problems are in the way of you living happily and successfully. The truth is that you'll never know all the good things there are to know about yourself when you identify with your problems.
Step Two: Start reminding yourself daily that if problems exist, then miracles exist. Miracles are quick healings or inspiring happenings that are too easy to explain. If problems seem to pop out of nowhere, then solutions, too, have that same miraculous power. Allow it to happen.
Step Three: The only antidote to a pessimistic attitude is an optimistic attitude. Both attitudes exist, and are forces to be reckoned with. A pessimistic attitude, sustained over time, causes feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness, which leads to a life of misery. An optimistic attitude gives you faith in yourself and life, which inevitably leads to joyful, productive living. It's not fiction but fact that your inner reality gives life to your outer experiences -- choose optimism.
Step Four: Be kind to yourself. Avoid being cruel to yourself. Awareness of how you talk to yourself, especially while facing a problem, reveals the kind of life you'll experience. Your self-talk has everything to do with how difficult or easy your life unfolds for you. When a problem arises, avoid entanglement. See it for what it is -- an opportunity to experience a little more of your unlimited potential. The way your self-talk goes is the way your life goes -- speak to yourself kindly.
Step Five: There is nothing good or bad in your life until you say it is so. In everything, there is something good. Make it your mission to prove that fact the next time a problem attacks.
There you have it. Now you know what to do to dissolve any problem that confronts you. It's time to stop banging your head against the wall. You are a unique, never to be duplicated masterpiece. You are a child of Infinite Intelligence. The same intelligence that created this incredible cosmos in which you live, created you. That creator respects you so much that it continually offers you challenges to help you respond to life and express your magnificence in wondrous, new ways. Dissolving your problems puts you back on track. Are you ready now to dissolve your problems so you can enjoy and celebrate yourself rightly?
Rob White is an International Bestselling author, storyteller & philosopher. Rob founded The Ordinary Guru Project, which is awarding $9,000 in cash prizes to encourage others to share their own ordinary guru tales.