“I suppose you think you’re problems are worse than mine, right? Well let me tell you something, pal – you don’t know anything about having problems until you’ve taken a good look at MY problems, so cut me a little slack here, OK?”
Is that how you feel about your problems? Do you think no one else has ever faced what you face? Does it look like your problems are huge while everyone else’s insignificant?
Here are five universal truths concerning problems.
Universal truth #1: Everyone has problems. My counseling professor at Creighton University, Robert McEniry, MA, Ph.D., SJ, told our class that you could walk up to anyone on the street and say in an empathetic tone of voice, “I heard about your problem” and though you wouldn’t know what it really was, they would, because everyone has problems.
Universal truth #2: You’ll never be without problems. Both rich and poor people have money problems. Both married and single people have relationship problems. Both men and women have gender issues. Both teenagers and octogenarians have aging problems. No matter whom you are or where you live or how much you have or don’t have, one thing you will always have are problems.
Universal truth #3: Problems are what give meaning to life. If you’ve ever been on an extended vacation you may recall how happy you were to finally get back to work. Doing nothing, having no challenges, living life with ease, does not make life meaningful; it makes it boring.
Universal truth #4: Most problems can be solved. Remember your middle school math classes and the multiplication and division problems you had to solve? For some, especially me, those were very difficult problems that required an intense amount of attention to find a solution, but they all had a solution. It didn’t seem like it at the time, but those math problems were good training for life: most problems can be solved!
And lastly, Universal truth #5: People who are good at solving problems have a solutions oriented mindset – not a problem oriented mindset. People who see problems as opportunities and who live their lives as victors are much better at solving problems than those with a negative attitude and a victim mentality.
Even though the problems you face may be huge, complicated and even life threatening, believe you can solve them. It is possible that the solutions to your problems may call forth from you the very best you have and may demand from you great courage, faith, and persistence. If so, remind yourself often that you are something special because you were born with all the skills required and all the resources necessary to resolve all the problems you face.