How to be Proactive Rather than Reactive

by Vance Larson

Pick your problem, but don’t hold onto them. We all have stuff. And by stuff, I mean things that we would deem a problem. I think where we get into trouble, is when we use them as an identifier. I get it. It is easy to do. I have done that a few times in my life. And what I learned is, that the issue became more prominent than it really was. I allowed it to get big. So big in fact, that it consumed most of my waking thoughts. The problem was not as bad as I thought it was.

Although I have never gone to therapy (not that I am above it, just meditation has always been my thing), I support those who do. Talking about our problems in a therapeutic environment can help. Working in mental health has been my entire career, so I know the value of talk and release. It’s like a pressure valve. That stress flows out of you at the moment. And that is good. But many people actually set up a base camp within their problem, and live there 24/7. And that my friend, will take you down faster than you can imagine.

Depressed mood. Pensive mournful woman sitting and staring aside

It is never helpful to live with the problem all the time. It’s like having a really bad headache. Most of us will take an aspirin to get rid of the pain. But what we’re really doing is masking the pain. If the pain lingers on for days, weeks into months, we go see a doctor. There will be a test to hopefully find the root cause of the pain. And while medication might be part of the treatment plan, there are usually other steps and a multi-level approach to feeling better and cure. Everything from diet, and stress reduction to surgery. So the aspirin buys you time and breaks the 24/7 pain.

When it comes to pain and discomfort, I am proactive rather than reactive. It gives me control in an out-of-control time. But…I get on with my life and embrace as much normalcy as possible. I personally am living with a pretty serious health condition. Most people that know me, do not know that I am at stage 3. But every now and then, they will find me literally balled up on the floor, lying in a pool of vomit. At that point (or when I’m able to communicate), I let them know what I am dealing with. Although not fatal, it is brutal and leaves me almost unresponsive when it hits. I tell you that so you may understand this. Do not let your pain own you. Do not let your pain become your identifier. It is by far the biggest trap we can fall into.

Happy millennial Caucasian woman sit rest on cozy couch in living room relieve negative emotions. Smiling young female relax on sofa at home with eyes closed, sleep or daydream on weekend.

So I close with this. We all have problems. And many of us will pick a problem and hyper-focus on it. How is that working out for you? I doubt that it is, and you find that it is more hurtful than helpful. So we can pick a problem, or we can see it as part of our journey. Like most people, I’ve had many problems in my life. I just don’t talk about them. Because I refuse to pick a problem. I choose to be a participant. And that’s where our power lies. Not me lying on the floor in a pool of vomit complaining. It’s me rising to my feet, washing my face, and getting on with the day…if possible. That is how my story goes. There are many bad paragraphs, but no bad chapters. Problems or progress. Pick one.

Book a one-on-one session with Vance Larson, C.H.H.C., M.Ht, and CTC Life, Life coach and counselor here.

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