“Those things that hurt, instruct.” -Benjamin Franklin
A common theme I notice as a counselor is the notion of surprise regarding hardship and problems in daily mundane living. The “Why me? What did I do to deserve this?” reactions to pain and problems suggest a belief that life should be void of them. Yet science and simple observation prove otherwise; that problems, having them and solving them, give our lives meaning and growth.
In the words of Scott Peck, MD from the “Road Less Traveled,” “It is through the pain of confronting and solving problems that we learn.” Consider the pain in losing weight, confronting a difficult situation, setting boundaries with a family member, medical surgery, etc. All involve a problem and pain. All involve improvement and growth.
And yet so much of our living is around dodging and escaping problems. Why is this? I believe it is so due to our faulty beliefs about problems and our fear in solving them. We must change our perceptions about problems and difficulties. According to Peck, MD, “..this tendency to avoid problems and the emotional suffering inherent in them is the primary basis of all human mental illness.” If we merely look around, we notice that all living things grow and all growth precedes a form of “growing pains.” Yet the very pain of growth is the road that leads us to greater happiness, wholeness, and fullness of life.
Mental Exercise!… What comes to your mind when difficulty swings around your corner? Do you blame yourself, others, God? Those subconscious beliefs are at the very root of why we do what we do and why we respond the way we respond.
Goal: Become aware of your own beliefs and change them to see problems as an opportunity for growth and improvement.
As you change your beliefs and perceptions about problems and difficulties, you will become less afraid to confront and solve them.
The next time a problem comes knocking on your door, instead of running from it, face it. In this lies mental health, maturity, and growth that precedes a happy and successful life.