An innate problem-solver, I tend to believe there’s a solution to every problem. All I need to do is find it. I get the most frustrated when I come across those pesky unsolvable problems. And there are plenty. That’s right. Bear with me for a moment. You see, sometimes there are things that happen, circumstances that hinder us, that are beyond our control to fix. I have to be careful that my desire to solve problems doesn’t leave me with feelings of discontent for circumstances I can’t change. What can I do when faced with problems I can’t fix?
If you can’t change your circumstances, change your thoughts.
We are bound by the laws of physics and gravity; therefore, some problems are bigger than us. If you told me you were unhappy about being in a wheelchair, I would not say, “We can fix this. You will walk again.” Instead, I’d ask, “What feelings are holding you back from living a happy life?” By questioning your feelings, you can backtrack to your thoughts, and there is where your power lies.
Usually when I let my circumstances get to me, it’s because I am too focused on my ‘nots’ instead of my ‘haves’. When I think about the things I lack, what I can’t do or be, then I feel inadequate, sad, despondent, hopeless. By shifting my focus to my ‘haves’, I feel abundance, joy, blessed, love.
This shift begins with the choice to give thanks for what I already have. I could focus on people more fortunate than me, or I could think of those who have less. One causes jealousy; the other, gratitude. I want to give thanks for the blessings in my life right now, because at any moment, my ‘haves’ could become my ‘nots’.
To live a great life is not to live a life free of suffering, but to give thanks through it.
I deal with chronic pain from migraines and fibromyalgia. There is no known cure, so how do I solve this problem? I don’t. There are days I wonder how a pain-free life would feel. What if I could just get up and run like Forest Gump or climb a mountain? How wonderful and exhilarating that would feel.
I tend to feel better about solving a problem if I can break it down into goals. Yet, this isn’t even a problem that a goal can fix. I can see the doctors, take the medicine, watch my diet, and keep hoping that every day will be better. They say regular activity is good for managing the pain. Isn’t chasing around a three year and one year old active? I’m going to be honest, dealing with this bums me out. There are days I feel down about my limitations, my weaknesses. So, I shift my focus to my strengths, and I ask what can I do? I can give thanks for my life, for my husband and children, my family and friends. I can give thanks that I am otherwise physically healthy. I can give thanks that I don’t have a migraine right now.
Sure, I wonder what it would be like to feel good all the time, and yet, I also think of what my life would be like without having dealt with this pain. Maybe I was meant to suffer a little to keep me humble. Maybe I was meant to deal with these weaknesses so I could give thanks for my strengths.
“Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.” -Soren Kierkegaard
I’d love to hear from you. Share in the comments of a time you had to deal with an unsolvable problem and what you did to make it better.
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