Not My Problem

“You often get a better hold upon a problem by going away from it for a time and dismissing it from your mind altogether.” – Dr. Frank Crane

Nice words and quite frankly, easier said than done.

As a therapist for decades I can let you in on a well-kept secret; many problems are solved in just that way. However, for many people talking to a therapist and working through a situation better equips them for future difficulties.                                                                                                                         

It is not easy to just forget about what you see and feel is a problem for you.

Problems come in categories. Those that are real and current, those that are totally out of your control, and those that you manufacture.

The real ones are usually right there in your face. They can be financial or health or individuals who upset you.

Those that are out of the blue can hit you and knock you over.

And then there are those that you think about that might happen.

It is truly amazing the number of people who think about all the what ifs and get worked up, sometimes to distraction, over probabilities that may never occur.

I have had people get physically ill in this manner.

Yes, life is fraught with all forms of unpleasantness, and things that happen to us that we do not wish upon ourselves. It takes strength; emotional strength, to survive and surmount much of what we experience.

What happens to us as individuals naturally takes precedence. We want to be free of problems.

As a result, we try to live out our lives trouble free as best we can.

If we lose our job, have a car break down, fight with our friends or spouses, or have a health issue we are in the midst of a personal problem and attempt with all our resources to make the situation go away or get better. We all have problems of one sort or another; no way to get around it.

Yes, if you are financially secure many problems are easier to get through. Some however are just situations where you are in better surroundings to have a fight or get a car repaired.

Money, while a big problem in a whole slew of areas, is not the total answer.

Now when it comes to all the things that we worry about and make a problem, many of these     if not the majority, may never happen.

The other big issue I hear are all the alleged problems that people take on that could well be handled with the phrase, Not my problem.

Think about it. How many times have you heard and gotten upset over someone else’s difficulties?                                                                                        

When it comes to children it is true we try to make things better for them as they are too young and inexperienced to handle many things.

If we know of bad things that affect our friends or people we care about we can empathize and that’s a good thing. We could use more empathy in this current world.

BUT, and it is a big, BUT we need not take on the emotional baggage when it is not necessary.

How can we separate?

For some it is not easy but for others you can learn and practice, and mean it, when you say,

Not my problem.

Try it; repeat after me… Not my problem.                 

Those things we have no control over make it easier, but those things that happen to people we are involved with make it hard.

You can try and be helpful while distancing yourself emotionally and really not taking the situation on emotionally yourself. If you are a sensitive and caring person, it is harder.

You do care and that again is a nice quality. If it takes too much out of you then you are paying an unnecessary price for being understanding and loving.

Perhaps you can let it bother you for the short term but quickly learn how to move on with other aspects of your current life. For in truth, it is not your problem and the resolution will come without your involvement. Time does heal, and many helpful suggestions will not solve it in the long run.

A good way to practice is with current events that you have no control over but do bother you.

While in truth some may indeed affect you in the end and become problems the immediate situation is, not your problem.

I once had an elderly banjo teacher… yes I love the banjo and wanted to start an all-female Mummer’s band for the New Year’s parade in Philadelphia, who said, “Lynn, there are no problems…. only solutions.”

Never did learn to play well and much too cold to march in skimpy costumes in a parade!

“The best way to escape from a problem is to solve it.” – Brendan Francis

What is your biggest problem?  What problems have you solved? How?

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