Enlightened Living

Meaning and mindfulness in everyday life

Looking Beyond Our Problems and Looking Toward Our Solutions, Pt. 1

How many fingers do you see?  Are you sure?, Pt. 1

Hold your hand in front of your face with your thumb folded. How many fingers do you see? Four, right? Maybe...maybe not.

One of the mantras that we've often been hearing of late is "be part of the solution, not part of the problem." In business it is widely held that one should never walk into one's supervisor's office with a problem, but with a problem and a solution - even if it's not the right one. How do we do that?

We often find ourselves stuck because we get hung up on the problem that we are confronting - hung up on what's in front of us. This limits our vision, limits our creativity and limits our possibilities. It limits us - more to the point, we limit us. If we can set aside our anxieties, we can see more clearly and thus broaden the possibilities of our response.

First, we need to discover what is keeping us stuck. Often, it is a habit of the mind. If we believe something to be true, we tend to behave in a way that confirms that truth, whether consciously or unconsciously.

Think of something that is a negative constant in your life. Maybe you are always late, even when you try to be on time. Maybe you struggle with finances, even though you make plenty of money. Maybe you consistently choose a particular sort of relationship, or behave badly given certain circumstances.

Find a Therapist

Search for a mental health professional near you.

Take that circumstance and write it down. Simplify the idea of that circumstance - put it into simple language in a sentence that is short enough to fit on a bumper sticker.

Now, do the same thing with a positive constant in your life. Maybe you are exceedingly punctual. Maybe you are a wizard with a dollar, and have more than enough even though you make minimum wage. Maybe you have been blissfully married for 30 years. Do the same exercise.

You have now identified two Core Truths - one positive, one not so positive. Think about and try to identify where those truths come from. Maybe you are always late because your father was always ahead of schedule and constantly criticized you to, "Get a move on." and you accepted the instruction that you were a slow poke. Maybe you're great with managing money because you grew up poor and vowed to yourself you'd never go without, or you were once humiliated because you came up short.

You have now identified two Core Beliefs. And it is those beliefs - good, bad or indifferent - that drive our choices and interfere with, or promote, our decision making. They are the lens through which we see a problem or with which we see past a problem.

Identifying those truths, suspending or even changing those beliefs are what allow us to free ourselves from our self-imposed bondage and the tyranny of our own fears.

So, hold your hand up in front of you face with your thumb folded. How many fingers do you see? Don't look at the hand (the problem)...look past it.

How many fingers do you see? If you said eight, your vision is clearing.

© 2008 Michael J. Formica, All Rights Reserved

My Psychology Today Therapists ProfileMy WebsiteEmail Me DirectlyTelephone Consultations

 

Michael J. Formica, M.S., M.A., Ed.M., is a psychotherapist, teacher and writer. He is an Initiate in the Shankya Yoga lineage of H.H. Sri Swami Rama and the Himalayan Masters.

more...

Subscribe to Enlightened Living

Current Issue

Love & Lust

Who says marriage is where desire goes to die?