Do you acknowledge problems as they arise?

Posted by peter main on December 2nd, 2019

There is a tendency nowadays to talk about challenges rather than problems. It is as if the word problem is slightly negative, whereas talking about a challenge seems more constructive. The idea that the notion of a problem is negative is a strange one. The idea of negative and positive approaches to life is of itself one that should be challenged.

Problems are a part of everyday life. How people define what it probably is will vary depending upon their situation. For some people a problem is not getting a 20 percent bonus on top of a six-figure salary. For other people, the problem may be how to feed a family and clothe them whilst on benefits or welfare.

There is nothing negative in acknowledging the reality of what the problem is. It is certainly true that the nature of the problem depends upon someone's perspective, and to an objective observer the above examples make that clear. However, to the individuals concerned the problem is their problem.

If someone considers something a problem, then to them it is a problem. It may be a worry or concern, that may seem strange to other people. On the other hand it may seem quite obvious.

It is important to never diminish what other people consider to be the problem, however difficult that maybe. Sometimes people refer to problems as high-class problems, implying that they are not really problems at all. What this does is fail to acknowledge the context of the person's life, and why they see that particular issue as a major problem.

The real issue is whether or not the person has the resources to flag up what they see as a problem, and are able to do something about it. This is central to the issue of acknowledging a problem as it occurs. This is sometimes referred to as a reality check.

People generally are reluctant to acknowledge a problem at the time they see it, because they are afraid they will not be able to deal with it. Thus the issue actually, is much more about the power and resources of the individual than the issue itself.

That is not to say that some problems are so difficult that they cannot be dealt with easily. However, the majority of the time, there are ways to survive. Sometimes it is simply about buying yourself enough time to be able to figure out the solution, or to ask for help in meeting your needs.

This issue of power over problems is fairly central. On the whole, it is not down to the issue of the problem, but more to the individual's sense of their own life. Whilst there are extremes, people on the whole either see themselves as being responsible for their lives, or see other people as being the actors.

A lot of people grow up in homes where there is either a lot of abuse, or alcoholism or addiction of some type. One of the main effects of this is to make them believe they have no control over their own lives, and that they have to rely on other people to make their lives happen.

This belief is common, and if taken on board early enough in childhood or adolescence, comes as the de facto belief system about themselves. This is why it is so difficult to shift, because it is essentially an inner child belief. Getting to it and dealing with it at an inner child level will inevitably give the individual a much greater sense of power and control over their own life.

Peter Main is a freelance writer who specializes in issues around alcoholism and 12 step recovery. This includes articles on the Big Book of Alcoholica Anonymous and Alcohol and Drug Interventions

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peter main
Joined: April 8th, 2019
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