Breaking the Rules: How to Reframe the Challenges of our Lives

Breaking the Rules: How to Reframe the Challenges of our Lives

04/16/14 James Winston

By Sandra L. Bennett, LCSW, Centerstone Solutions
Our culture has taught us that the problem-free life is something to which we should aspire; that success is the only thing that matters; that it is important to stay happy, no matter what; and that loss is terrible. However, if we look at our lives through a different lens, perhaps we can unlearn some of the rules that we have embraced.

1) Problems are bad.  We learned all the way through school to solve problems of many types and that problems are NO FUN!  However, people who don’t have problems often invent them.  A real problem often carries the seed of its own solution.  Job burnout?  It may be steering you toward a more perfect career.  An awful relationship? It may be teaching you what love means.

2)  Success is the only thing that matters.  It is a fact that whether we are trying to quit smoking, learn to ski, lose weight, exercise or do yoga, we succeed to the degree we try, fail, and learn.  Studies show that people who worry about making mistakes shut down, but those who are relaxed about doing badly soon learn to do well.  Success doesn’t happen without failure.

3)  It is important to stay happy no matter what.  When we solve a problem, we can feel happy, but we don’t have to be happy to feel good. Think of a situation where you feel miserable and then think “I must be happy.”  Stressful, right?  Give yourself permission to feel as you feel and you’ll find the foundation of well-being.

4)  Loss is terrible.  Many of us avoid loss of any kind like the plague. Loss is unsettling and it upsets our stability.  But losses aren’t cataclysmic if they teach your heart and soul the natural rhythm of breaking and healing.

We were not born to have a problem-free, loss-free, ever-happy existence.  Think of all the people who seem to “have it all” that fill treatment and rehab centers.  The more we can broaden our thoughts to include a different perspective, the more we will be able to see the silver lining behind every cloud.

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