You Are Not a Helpless, Hopeless Spider Desperately Trying to Climb Out of a Bathtub |
When it comes to solving life's numerous winding and ever-screwy struggles, understand this: you cannot stare at your problems and solve them at the same time. Of course, it's important to identify a problem. Identification is key.
But if you find yourself focusing on one issue ad nauseam, talking about it incessantly, mulling over said struggle in your mind, thinking about how you’ve done everything a person could possibly do to fix XYZ problem and nothing has worked, and it’s been like this your whole life, and no one ever taught you how to do this, and even your therapist agrees with you, and honestly you're just super Screwed with a capital shitstorm “S”…
Then cool. Fine. Please prepare for nothing to get solved, and every crappy thing to stay exactly the same.
Because you cannot stare at your problem and solve it at the same time.
You probably resent the suggestion that you’re problem-staring; you don’t even recognize you’re doing it.
You swear you really want a solution; that you’re deeply committed to making things better, that's why you're so fixated. Cause if you knew what to do, you would totally do it! You’re just hopeless and helpless and uniquely fucked, okay??
Huh. No, actually. Super-duper not okay. And that attitude, little sugar blumpkin, is getting you nowhere.
You are not a hopeless, helpless little spider climbing up the side of a bath tub, desperately trying to get out, only to fall back down to the porcelain abyss. Mostly because even the spider is insanely committed to a solution: GET ME OUT OF THIS DAMN BATH TUB OR AT LEAST LET ME DIE TRYING.
You, oh beautiful self-sabotaging struggle-junkie, are sitting at the bottom of the tub looking for more and more conclusive evidence to support your theory that there is no way up or out.
That vertical climb, you just can’t do it. Because blah blah blah.
It’s too hard. It won't work.
You’ve seen others fail.
You’ve tried before, so there's no point.
There's no solution. You’re SOL. So let’s just keep talking about how much it sucks and how impossible it is.
And you're right - it is impossible. Because you can’t sit at the bottom of the tub staring at the struggle and expect to ever find yourself at the top. You cannot stay stuck in your problem, and simultaneously expect a solution to appear.
You’re either focusing on how to get out of the tub and taking some bebe steps forward, or you’re telling yourself why it will never work. You can't. Have. Both. And if you opt for the latter, may I suggest setting up camp as far away from the drain hole as possible, and pray that nobody takes a shower soon! Cause YIKES.
Unless of course, you really do want a solution. Unless you’re ready to die trying to find your way out of this one. As in: try something, anything, knowing that you might fail. Try again, try something else, maybe fail different, hopefully fail better, but keep trying.
Because that is how solutions and next-logical-steps materialize.
Problems don’t get solved by sitting amidst them and staring at them and agonizing over them and journaling on them and ranting to anyone who will listen about them.
Problems don’t get solved by reminding yourself daily of your woes, and reinforcing how screwed and ill-equipped you are.
Until you are ready to let go of your one-of-a-kind miseries, and take full ownership of getting yourself outta that damn tub, you’re going to have a really hard time coming to any kind of resolution. And this goes for EVERYTHING.
So let me ask you: where in your life are you relentlessly problem-staring?
What mental corners have you painted yourself into?
And what does it relate to? Money? Love? Career path? Self-acceptance? Mental well-being?
What struggle have you convinced yourself there is no solution to?
And what would it feel like to start questioning the shit outta that conclusion?
Imagine it: what if there was an easy, even obvious way out? What if it’s just been alluding you, because you’ve been so busy staring in the opposite direction? Is that even a possibility?
Because it always starts with admitting possibility. Admitting that you are not screwed, or eternally smited (smote?), or uniquely fucked.
So call yourself out, right now. Start with step 0: stop staring. Stop turning that problem over in your mind. Put it down. Look away. Look anywhere else.
This is how you train yourself to be solutions-focused. Quit fixating on what's not working. Take a breather. Take the pressure off. Soon you'll be able to see what could work, or might work, or actually already is working for you.
You don't need to weave such a tangled web anymore. You can stop spinning. You can hit pause. And soon enough, you'll be ready to take a few steps forward on those eight slender legs in the direction of that vertical climb. Inching your way toward a more open, hopeful, better-feeling place.
Because the only way out is up. So quit looking down.