Talking About Our Problems

A few years ago I was part of a group that was all about productivity, growth, and success. One of the things they shared quite frequently was about how we should focus less on the negative things in life. I brought that into my life and practiced it for a while, except when I got drunk. But then I grew away from that group and shrugged my shoulders and thought I could focus on the positive while also allowing complaining and negativity back into my life. And I did, for a while. Until I realized that I was more stressed and had a more negative outlook on life than I liked.


Episode 17: Talking About Our Problems

Failing Imperfectly
Failing Imperfectly
Episode 17: Talking About Our Problems

Our problems can either be a speed bump or they can rule everything about our lives. Talking about them continuously can and will determine our outlook on life. Today I talk about what I’m doing to overcome talking about problems.

I am willing…

…or am I unwilling.

At some point in our lives we either feel that we are or we actually are stuck. Stuck in a job, stuck in a relationship, or just plain stuck with life. I actually feel that way right now with debt and my overall happiness (independent of each other). These are circumstances of my life. Circumstances that I am either defending or changing.

So, am I defending them, or am I changing them?

Am I willing or unwilling?

“You have the life you’re willing to put up with.” – Gary John Bishop

Let’s talk about debt for a minute. Debt plagues most of us and it has become the American way of life. I turned to using debt because I wanted to get ahead of my poor upbringing. I wanted things NOW, not after I saved for them. Then I got a hold on that and was laid off. It took three months to get a job again and just kept living the same life, this time paying for everything on credit. Credit cards take a really long time to pay off. But there is something I can do to fix this circumstance.

Am I willing or unwilling?

Now let’s talk about my happiness. I’m not overall unhappy with life, but I know there is much more happiness out there for me. I struggle with allowing myself to be happy and to experience happiness without stressing about something. Something we are doing, somebody we are with, something. I am hyper aware of everything going on and what I perceive everyone is thinking. I feel it is my duty to take care of everyone else around me. I can fix this circumstance.

Am I willing or unwilling?

“Circumstances don’t make the man; they only reveal him to himself.” – Epictetus

My circumstances don’t actually make who I am, but I make them make who I am. Rather than making my circumstance make who I am, I need to take those circumstances and respond to them differently. The way I respond to my circumstances is who makes me. There is ALWAYS a different response to my circumstances than the one that is keeping me stuck.

Am I willing or unwilling?

The definition on Google of willing is: ready, eager, or prepared to do something.

Am I ready to respond differently to my circumstances?
Am I eager to change how I respond to my circumstance?
Am I prepared to do the hard things?

Most of us will answer these questions with a “yes, but…” kind of answer. As Gary John Bishop states in  Unfu*k Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and into Your Life, “Every time you add the ‘but’ to the end of that statement, you turn yourself into the victim.” I used a slightly different statement, a statement that I tend to use most often, but the thought still holds true. Every time I say “yes, but…”, I am turning myself into the victim with my circumstances. It works the same exact way with more than just the word ‘but’. Every time we try to explain our circumstances with either short or long explanations, we are turning ourselves into the victim.

What if we took our “yes, but….” and our explanations and turned those into different statements. What if we said “I am willing to let a lay off from a job three years ago define my finances now and in the future” or “I am willing to forgo happiness in everything that I do so I can keep stressing.”? Those “I am willing” statements don’t sound like a life I want to live.

Am I willing or unwilling?

Let’s look at the reverse – am I unwilling? Am I unwilling to continue to live in debt? Am I unwilling to allow stress to be my happiness?

Sometimes we can allow our unwillingness to be our fuel instead of our willingness. Accepting our unwillingness to continue something draws a line where we are no longer willing to go back to the same behaviors or circumstances.

“Sometimes recognizing that you willingly put yourself in a place where you are unhappy is often all the impetus required to make an opening for real and lasting change.” – John Gary Bishop

Acceptance that we willingly put ourselves in a circumstance doesn’t mean we are blaming ourselves or that we are making ourselves the victim. It means that we accept where we are and that we don’t want to remain there. It means that we accept it is time to make a change. It means we are either willing or unwilling to do something and that willingness or unwillingness will ignite our eagerness for action.

Am I willing or unwilling?

I am both. I am willing to make the difficult changes in my life. I am unwilling to stay in debt or to allow my stress to rule my life. Is it going to be easy? Oh fuck no. Is it going to change overnight? Ha, if only. Is it going to be worth it? Absolutely!!

What am I going to do to change my circumstances?

I am willing to change my spending habits.
I am willing to postpone buying things until debt is paid off.
I am willing to say no to activities that are over my budget.
I am unwilling to remain stuck in debt.

I am willing to grow personally.
I am willing to open my heart and mind to new possibilities.
I am willing to change my views. (I almost typed: I am willing to change my skewed views, but that just puts blame on my circumstance and I’m changing that damn habit. This. Is. Going. To. Be. Work)
I am unwilling to stay a stressed mess and miss happiness everywhere I go.

I am willing and unwilling.