I’m delighted to have Joyce Shafer back as my guest today. She’s a Life Coach, the author of I Don’t Want to be Your Guru, but I Have Something to Say and other books/e-books, and also publishers State of Appreciation, a free weekly online newsletter promoting a blend of practical & spiritual approaches to life for personal development and self-realization. Here’s her great perspective on problems:
Life Is Not Supposed to Be All About Problems
By Joyce Shafer
Do you wake every day, move through your day, and go to bed with problems on your mind? Maybe you’d like to do something about that right now. What can you do that’s quick? Reframe the problem or your perceptions about it to make a difference, even if just a small shift at first.
I listened to an interview with Marcia Wieder and she said something like, “Life is not meant to be just about addressing problems.” How often you might feel that your days are all about problems! Maybe thinking that way has become a habit.
Marcia’s statement brought my thoughts back several years, to a call with my Life Coach. He listened to me for a while and asked, “Have you ever noticed how many times you use the word ‘problem’?” He had me there, and I was glad he brought it to my attention. Someone in my life consistently says, “We have a problem.” I’d become so accustomed to hearing it that I didn’t even realize I was using the word so often (and experiencing all that goes with it).
What happens to your energy when you say or think, “I have a problem” or even “There’s a problem”? Do your thoughts immediately go to or open to possible solutions? Not really, huh? You focus on the fact there’s a problem or that a problem is perceived. How can you reframe this?
Here’s an example from my past. The due date for a monthly bill loomed. Expected funds hadn’t arrived. I reclaimed units of Truth and calmed myself. Unexpected funds came to me, which meant I could mail the check and have extra left over. Except… I verified the deposit had cleared and saw a lower online balance from my check register, caused by an annual automated charge. The company had always emailed a notice a few weeks early so I could plan for it. They hadn’t this time.
At first I was disappointed. Then I recognized how I’d been “looked after” from a higher level than physical reality. It was an Instant Reframe Moment, because I could have stayed in the mental-emotional place that believed I had less than I could have had, or life was unfair, or any number of negative perceptions. Instead, I chose to acknowledge I’d been “looked after” at that time, as I had before, and would be again.
Being in problem mode and in a negative perception state can become a bad habit, without you even realizing it. It can make you not only anticipate problems but also amplify severity of situations that arise–through your thoughts about them–beyond what they really represent or present. This can cause you to ignore what shows up to assist you or to not see what shows up for what it is.
A friend of mine had this habit mixed in with the perception that everything had to be “larger than life” to have real value. One Saturday we spoke on the phone about a “problem” she had. My intuition said to suggest she go to a metaphysical bookstore and let a book find her. She agreed to do this. We spoke a few hours later and she insisted she’d found nothing. My inner knowing said otherwise. She finally said, “I did find a book, but it’s just a small one.” I asked which one. “Life was never meant to be a struggle,” she answered. Oh boy. The physical book could fit inside a shirt pocket and not show. Her skewed perceptions about a “little” book caused her to miss the big message for her in the title, alone.
Our perceptions can cause us to wear blinders so that we look in only one direction, usually a negative or limiting one. A habit of labeling events and feelings according to these perceptions closes us off from seeing things differently.
Stuff happens–and for reasons we don’t always understand; but here are four questions to ask when you want to check whether your perceptions about events or situations are working for you:
* What else might be going on? (Negative perceptions limit “visibility”!)
* Is there any value to me at the inner or outer levels; and if not apparent now, what about in the future? (There’s always inner-level value; and hindsight often shows a “brilliance” orchestrated the events–if we allow ourselves to see this.)
* In what way does this event ask me to be creative? (This could be at the inner, outer, or both levels.)
* Do situations (or I) change quicker if I get tense or if I allow serenity in? (You know this one is a no-brainer. If you’re a prickly cactus energy-wise, nothing comes close to you. Smooth your “surface,” and whatever IT is gives you a big hug.)
If your perception about a “problem” is that it’s an opportunity to be creative, or to learn and grow, is it still a problem of the same magnitude? If you reframe it this way, does it still have the same emotional charge for you?
Marcia asked listeners to consider what their relationship is with their personal power. You are an infinite soul, a creative consciousness engaging a physical experience; not just a problem solver or someone who just has problems. Practice being a creative and a creative solver; and use your reframing skills to allow you to experience events from a more positive or productive perspective. There are likely some matters in your life right now you could apply this approach to. Maybe start with some of the simpler ones.
Dustin Hoffman, as Mr. Magorium, in Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, says to his assistant: “Life is an occasion. Rise to it.” That’s what “problems” are, actually: Occasions we have the opportunity to rise to, whatever that means for us as individuals, and in ways appropriate and authentic for us (not based on the opinions of others).
Will you choose to rise to or through your personal power or sink into negative thinking today?
Practice makes progress.
Joyce Shafer has a 2-month online course on her website to end procrastination and achieve desired change. You’ll receive a free PDF of How to Have What You REALLY Want when you subscribe on her website.
Take the self-love challenge and get my book, How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways for free at http://howdoiloveme.com. And you can post your loving acts HERE to reinforce your intention to love yourself. Read my 31 Days of Self-Love Posts HERE.
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