Solving The Right Problem

Problem solving seems to be an innate human characteristic. Whether figuring out directions to a location or sending a man to the moon, achieving small goals or seemingly impossible ones is a large part of who we are. However, when it comes to solving issues that involve some insights about our own thinking and behavior, well those are the are often over looked or  considered insignificant.

What is more significant than solving the problems which will free us and empower us to live a more happy, productive, and satisfying life? As children, we are taught that thinking about ourselves is selfish and we should be concerned about others. Then we are told we can never truly love anyone until we can love ourselves. So if we love ourselves first, our we being selfish? (Can you see the vicious circle?)

All of us have had friends who went through difficult problems and the solutions seem very simple to us. We thought if they could only do such and such, their problem(s) would be over. On the flip side, how many times do you think that person could have thought the same thing about us?

For me there is nothing more important that solving our own problems. It is not selfishly motivated, it is empowering and we will be most effective when we work on ourselves and constantly grow. Having this perspective is a good place to start.


The first step

The first step to solving ANY problem is always the same. Realizing there is a problem. This is so obvious you are probably wondering why I am even saying it. Let’s think of it in another way. The first step is: knowing or having knowledge that the problem exists. It might be semantics but oftentimes – and especially in my case – we don’t see the REAL problem.

Again, citing my own example, there were plenty of times in my life when I didn’t believe in myself or thought at some point that I wasn’t deserving of something, however I didn’t truly understand how much the problem had control of me (I would like to suggest that you go back and read my post from July 4th, called Independence Day)

Knowing the problem will also include an awareness of the depth and significance of the problem. I understood how big and out of control the it became.

Once you gain a knowledge and awareness of the problem, you can easily proceed to the next step and the fix?  Well it has the potential of coming shortly after that.


Dealing with the Shame Filter

Once I discovered my shame filter, the next logical step was to “fix it”. How do I deal with all this negative thinking, low self-esteem and the feeling of unworthiness? After all isn’t that a normal reaction? Here’s the problem…… go and  fix it!

The difficulty is that it’s not a leaky faucet or a worn brakes. There is no changing of a washer or putting on new pads to fix years of shame-based thinking. For me, at 53, this type of behavior had been going on for most of my life. It’s not as though one pep talk – even from the most dynamic speaker in the world – will “cure” years of behavior and emotional traumas then simply “fix” it.

So many issues we deal with took YEARS to solidify. Now that we realize there is a problem, well we just can’t take it to the local mechanic or “shrink” and say “fix it, please”.  The first step? It’s quite simple. We must acknowledge that the problem exists. We must understand that there is something that needs “fixing” or even better “changing”. After that? Well you’ll have to tune into the next post.


Why the “Shame Filter”?

The term “Shame Filter” is what I call it to help me understand the depth and size of my shame-based thinking, which as previously stated, is  the clinical term.  What is important for me is to realize that everything I did, went through these proverbial “sun glasses” and it filtered my thinking, behavior, actions; EVERYTHING that occurred in my life was effected by my shame filter.

Whatever words you want to use to describe and help you understand it, doesn’t really matter. In fact it might even be more helpful to come up with your own description. When these types of things can be put in your own words, it helps you (yourself) realize that you have a better understanding of it.

We all “see” things differently. A rainbow can be a sign of hope for one while to another, it may be a dream constantly being chased. In this same way, using your own term to describe your own understanding of shame-based thinking demonstrates you understand it for yourself.

I would like to hear some other descriptions of what you would call your shame filter. Soon we will talk about the depth, width and vastness of mine.