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No more problems please!

July 15th, 2014

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Have you ever wondered about how you deal with problems? those kind of problems you actually would prefer not to deal with? the problems you may not even see because you prefer not to? I recently read something that inspired today's post: When you ignore a problem, it doesn't go away, it just gets bigger and bigger...

problems
Image: piotr marcinski/Shutterstock.com

Most of the problems or conflicts we have, arise from the way we relate to the world around us, especially other human beings or situations we find ourselves in. When a problem or conflict that creates emotional discomfort arises, we sometimes choose to ignore it, we'd rather not face it because we may not have a clue how to fix it, or it may be so big and scary that it is overwhelming just to think about it, so we don't!, we shut it off, we ignore it and we try to occupy our minds in something else and pretend it is not there. We often do this unconsciously, we may not even be aware that we are shutting it off, or we may even convince ourselves that there is NO problem at all, that we are fine!

It is fascinating how our mind works, in its constant effort to avoid pain it will divert us from what is really going on. However, by ignoring a problem we are allowing it to grow bigger and bigger, and one day, inevitably it will blow up on our face, and by then, the damage might be unrecoverable... This is particularly true when it comes to relationships, we often allow the conflicts and the discomfort to become the norm, and we live with them instead of solving them, until one day something breaks (whether it is our health, the relationship, or both) and there is not much we can do to fix it at that point.

But, since we may be ignoring our problems without really being aware that we are doing it, how on earth can we get around this...?

The good news is that while our minds can totally trick us, our bodies cannot, our bodily sensations are a very good gauge to measure the state of our life. That is why it is so incredibly important to be in touch with our bodies, with our physical sensations and discomforts, and with our overall state of health.

Most of us have experienced what we call butterflies in our tummy when we are excited or nervous, or that knot in our throat when we are sad or speechless, or the tension in our shoulders or tummy when we are angry; our bodies are always reacting to the way we feel, no matter how hard we try to control it. Our bodies always tell us the truth, so we must listen...

The sensations in our bodies do not abide by the rules and filters that our mind dictates and chooses. Our bodies are plain and simple sensors of life... our organs do not "analyze" nor "judge" everything, they just function well or not so well, depending on what is going on around us, and especially inside our minds.

If you feel emotional discomfort, the first step is to make peace with the feeling, by that I mean, don't be hard on yourself for feeling the way you do, you have a right to feel sad, angry, frustrated, guilty etc. no matter what the situation is. Acknowledge the feeling, let it be there (which is different than feeding it by being overly negative or taking a victim role) just be aware of it and try to understand why it is there?, when do you feel it? is this only an emotional feeling (sadness, anger, frustration, etc.) or it is accompanied by a bodily sensation (pain, discomfort, tension, etc.)?, allow it to be there, do not escape the feeling, but do not cling to it either, just witness it and try to notice when it came about (did something happen that triggered it? has it happened before? what were you doing when it happened or right before? what were you thinking about when it happened or before...?)

There are many fascinating stories about how our body speaks to us, here below I wanted to share a few that I have read about:

A little boy that felt totally neglected by his parents, who were too busy to spend quality time with him, became sick, and his parents were forced to be by his side and take care of him, sickness became his way of calling for attention, and he went on to become a sickly adult. It wasn't until later in life and many illnesses, that he understood (through therapy) this dysfunctional pattern, and little by little he recovered his health.

Or the woman who never felt listened to by her husband (something neither of them had acknowledged nor realized) until one day she lost her voice, with no explanation, she could not speak for almost a year. Luckily, through therapy, she understood what had caused her voice to shut off, and she slowly recovered her voice.

Another woman in a seemingly stable and long lasting relationship, had lost all interest in intimacy, sex became painful and she started having hormonal and fertility problems, she was told she would never be able to conceive. Years later, she was confronted by the fact that she had never felt loved, appreciated nor desired by her partner of many years, and her sexuality and reproductive organs started shutting off as a consequence. She later went on to enjoy great health, enjoy intimacy and even had a child (with a different partner.)

Just remember that the problems you may be facing, especially in regards to relationships in your life, may not be totally clear to you nor obvious, but the physical sensations along with the emotional discomfort are a great way to delve a little more into what is going on and hopefully get to the bottom of it before it becomes a really big problem.

Do not ignore problems, face them, allow them to be, accept them, make peace with them, as that is the only way to start solving them. It is important to take an active role in solving our problems as opposed to ignoring them and numbing ourselves. So start by listening to your body a little more and to your mind a little less...

Have a great week!

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