Why life is filled with problems? We often feel that one problem has not finished yet that another seems to be around the corner. “Out of the frying pan into the fire” perhaps explains this phenomena quite accurately. In this article, we will discuss how there are 2 or 3 main problems in your life and the rest of the problems are all extensions/branches of those 2,3 core problems. Most likely these 2, 3 core problems have a deep impact, affecting our thinking pattern and shaping our behaviors and attitude. And as Charles Swindoll said “Attitude is everything. Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it”. So it is very much possible that most of the problems that we experience in our lives are because of the attitude that we may adapt towards ourselves and others.
Let’s consider the problem of “Low self esteem”. In the problem tree below, I’ve tried to list some of the causes of low self esteem in blue arrows, how they impact one’s confidence level which in turn impacts their self esteem and that compromised self esteem affects various domains of life. Spend some time to see how one problem leads to another one, like a ripple effect. For the purposes of simplicity, it was not possible to draw connections and links between all the sub-problems, otherwise it would have looked a bit like spider web. But that’s what exactly our confusions and hurdles in life look like; as if we are entangled in a web of difficulties.
Coming back to the topic, it is very much possible that you only have 2 or 3 major problems in your life and the rest others are the branches of those 2 , 3 basic problems. These problems can be related to your perception about life, about people, about your own self or the way you react, respond and behave. For example if a person struggles with managing time effectively, s/he is likely to be stressed at work, completing assignments on time, trying to manage multiple things at one time etc. All of this can make the person feel frustrated, tired, exhausted and unhappy. This in turn can impact his/her relationships, work-life balance and eventually compromising satisfaction and quality of life.
Long term problems tend to have very strong roots in your past, especially during the formative years of your life. This is why childhood trauma can actually cause structural changes in the human brain. Other aspects that might be responsible for the 2, 3 problems in your life might be related to parenting, people in your surroundings, culture, different concepts and philosophies, experiences etc.
Figuring it out?
For most of our problems, we do have the right answers and the solutions, provided we ask the right question. Take a paper and write all your problems, from the smallest to the biggest problem that you have ever encountered. Once you have listed all your problems, put the paper away and come back to it the next day. Make sure you are feeling relaxed. Take a look at the paper and try to relate the problems with one another , try to find a common cause. If possible, try making a problem tree, just like the one in this article. You may find that you can reach some conclusion. If you have a close friend, you can take their input to see if they can find common links between different problems.
Now when once you’ve figured out your core problems, find yourself some alone time to sit in a peaceful silent place and think of how different triggers led to the core problems (the blue arrows in the self esteem problem tree). You can either try to change the perception, the interpretation of the events by providing your self an explanation, or by seeking counseling. Remind yourself that things and circumstances were very different back then. Fears exist where there is lack of knowledge. Reminding yourself that back then your perception of yourself and the world was different compared to now, you can become receptive to the seeds of change. Schema-Focused Therapy is particularly useful for people who have longstanding issues.
Written by Muhammad Wasif Haq (2004)
The page is a part of Cool Bluez