New problem same as the old problem is a complex issue. From Pete Townsend’s lyrics “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss”, and no doubt a lot earlier, it’s an issue that is part of the human condition. The same problem keeps showing up, possibly in different guise – but essentially the same – until we are able to address it and make a change that resolves it in our lives.

It’s complex because it can have multiple disguises, and it grew into a problem over a number of years. It’s also simple because, once you resolve it in one situation, you are able to then resolve it in every other situation. When that happens, that old problem or issue turns into a challenge we know we can meet.

Here’s an example: Let’s say you have an important deadline coming up, and you find yourself overwhelmed. Not because you aren’t ready, but because you are trying to think of all the possible things that could go wrong. Because you feel overwhelmed, you spend the remainder of the time pre deadline worrying and stressing and doing nothing else. Good thing you’re already ready for it!

Then, you find out from your mother that she plans on visiting you next week. Not a lot of time to get things ready, but you’re pretty organized anyway, so not much to actually prepare. Except you worry over which bed to offer her, and the food you need to get, and whether she’s really OK with your new boyfriend roommate, even though she says she’s fine. Result: you feel overwhelmed to the point of no sleep until she arrives.

I can go on, generating similar scenarios that crop up all the time. You might not have something exactly like this stopping you, but the existence of a problem that crops up over and over is universal.

Because this kind of problem shows up in every aspect of our lives, it isn’t a simple fix. But there is something you can do to begin, and that is to get into the habit of noticing when and how it happens; and how it feels. Then figuring out the underlying cause. And finally, developing a strategy for successfully addressing it.

Easy to say and not so easy to do. That’s why counsellors exist. Even so, you may be able to figure it out on your own, or with a friend. But if not, simply begin to notice the when and how, learn to recognize the feeling, and go from there.

If you want support to face these challenges, reach out here. I’m accepting new clients.

Emotional mastery: the gifted wisdom of unpleasant feelings

Quote of the Week

From where we stand the rain seems random. If we could stand somewhere else, we would see the order in it.

― Tony Hillerman, Coyote Waits


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