Here I am down to the wire on this one again on the Sandbox Writing Challenge. The past couple weeks have found me dragging really, really bad. For the first time in two years (on October 14th) I haven’t really looked forward to getting on here. But I figure it’s just more of my roller coaster emotions at the moment, so I’ll do what I usually do with most other problems, I’ll push through it and write whether I want to or not. Like Opher, I just keep working on my problems till I start to get somewhere.
What happens in my mind when I encounter a problem is I grab hold of my boot straps and give ’em a hard tug. Usually I can put my emotions on hold, put my head down and plow right into trying to figure things out. Unless I can’t… Truthfully, sometimes I get so discouraged I feel like LIFE itself is one big problem.
When I fail to solve a problem my mind usually is standing there with this disapproving look on its face, arms crossed, tongue clucking like an old mother hen, implying I’m really lacking because I couldn’t sort things out. And even if the problem is not my fault, by the time my mind is done with lecture #32, I have no doubt that the issue is entirely mine. I go through emotions pretty quickly. I can move from denial to anger to self-condemnation in as little as 30 seconds. I reckon a lot of that is conditioning because I can’t be responsible for EVERYTHING that goes wrong in my life. Can I? Not everything IS my fault.
Be that as it may, nine times out of ten my mind winds right back to placing the blame for things squarely on my shoulders. (And sometimes I don’t really know if there IS a problem! Seriously… But there MIGHT be so I take responsibility for it just in case!) The end result is an emotional dip into depression. And I’ve usually had such a sound tongue lashing by my mind that my self-esteem in in the toilet by then.
Though I’ve certainly not gained much needed perspective in this area of my life, I can say I’ve gotten better these last couple years about recognizing when I can and can’t fix things; when they’re my fault and when they’re not. It doesn’t help my frustration, but it does short circuit the mind games I go through sometimes. And I’m learning to offer myself an extra helping of Grace when I’m grappling with problems I can’t overcome. That’s an improvement over the last 30+ years.
In the end I know there will always be problems to struggle with, but my hope is that I keep learning better and better techniques to deal with them like not internalizing everything. My attitude needs to become what Soren Kierkegaard once said: