Do you ever feel like your issues have issues, and those issues have issues and on and on?
That’s because the issue is never the issue.
Oh, go and lie down, you might say, you’re babbling.
But bear with me. When you see that the issue is never the issue, life becomes easier, and we all want an easier life.
What do you think the issue is?
What wakes you up at 3 am?
Are you struggling with money problems?
I get this. I’ve had many times when there’s been more month than money.
So I understand how this looks like an issue.
But now, let’s look a bit deeper. You think that lack of money is the problem but is that what you’re worrying about?
Or are you worrying about the consequences of a lack of money?
I worked with someone who had been homeless because of addiction and was now clean and living in a sober house. A requirement for living there was paying all the bills on time.
But this guy had received a letter to say that, despite paying the agreed monthly figure, he owed a utility company hundreds of pounds.
He was distraught. He kept saying that he was too old and that it was too cold for him to live on the streets again.
It looked to him that the issue was that he didn’t have the money to pay the bill, but the problem wasn’t lack of funds but what he made the lack of funds mean.
He created a scary picture of a future where he was homeless again. But after we contacted the utility company, he discovered that not only had they made a mistake but they owed him money.
So is the problem that you’re short of money, or are you worried about what could happen in the future because you lack funds?
If you focus on what might happen, you haven’t got the bandwidth to think about how to remedy the situation because your head is full of catastrophic predictions for the imagined future.
Take a breath.
Now, let’s look at what the issue really is. The problem is that your thoughts are multiplying like crazy, but instead of harnessing the power of your mind to create ways to increase your funds, you’re using your thoughts to frighten yourself.
So the issue isn’t the issue.
Is the state of your relationship waking you up at 3 am?
Maybe you’re not sure that your partner is the right person for you after all. Maybe they’re not loving enough, considerate enough, or they don’t listen to you.
Maybe you’d be more suited to someone who likes the same things as you?
The issue isn’t that this person isn’t right for you unless you’re ready to hit the road, but that you think they aren’t right for you.
Whenever someone thinks their relationship isn’t working, they think it’s because of the other person.
They focus on what they think is wrong with their partner. They go around and around all the things their partner does wrong.
You might have tried talking to your partner, but they don’t think they have a problem.
They act like it’s your issue.
And they’re right
It’s none of my business whether you stay with your partner or pack your bags, but at least acknowledge that the issue isn’t necessarily with your partner.
When you remember what first attracted you to your partner, you’ll notice that you hardly ever think about them like this anymore.
You’re so focused on what you don’t like about them that you forget to look at what you do like.
But when you take a step back, you can see that the issue isn’t the relationship but the way you think about the relationship.
Are you frustrated that life isn’t going how you want it to? You had a map, but your life is all detours.
Maybe you don’t have as much time as you need because everyone wants a piece of you. You’re not doing the job you want to do because you’re too busy working to pay bills.
I feel you.
But the issue isn’t that you haven’t got time to do what you want. The problem is with the way you spend your time. Everyone has the same amount of hours in a day, so how do some people have full and productive days while others barely get through a couple of emails?
So the issue isn’t time but how you think about time and the way you use your time.
I have no judgement on how long you spend binge-watching Netflix or gaming. But if you choose to do this, at least acknowledge the choice.
What do you want to do?
Get up an hour earlier and dedicate that to doing what you want. That might be exercising, meditating or learning a new skill so that you can apply for your dream job.
Or stay in bed and stop worrying about time.
Why is it important to recognise that the issue is never the issue? For starters, it helps you see that not everything is a problem.
If I get irritated with my partner for leaving his shoes where I might trip over them, the problem isn’t with my partner or his shoes; the issue is my mood.
If I’m fine and dandy, it’s not a problem, but if I’m tired or rushing, it looks like an issue. And at that moment, I might not see that the issue is with me because it seems like it’s with him.
Next time you’re faced with a problem, think about what the problem might be.
Don’t look for more problems but ask yourself what is really pushing your buttons.
And when you see this, you won’t get caught up with the issues you think you’re facing; you’ll be able to see that the issue is always the way you think about the problem and not the problem.
Unless that’s an issue?