Life's problems are viewed as "not enough money" or "not enough time". For couples, the problems are often “communication" or "parenting" or “sex”. We think if we had more money or more time, better sex or a better job, things would be wonderful.

It doesn't work that way, because these things are not the BIG PROBLEM. 

1.   TUNNEL VISION is the tendency to focus on the immediate crisis. Under stress, things look more complex or worse than they really are. 

Solution: PERSPECTIVE. Ask if it will matter in 6 months. What else is going on? How did you create the situation and, in an ideal world, what would you like to do about it?

2.   FEAR is the anxiety that things will go badly, that we will fail or be embarrassed.  It is a survival instinct from the time we lived in constant danger. 

Solution: HUMOR and CURIOSITY. The situation is rarely life or death. Ask, What's the worst that can happen? What would be funny if it were a sitcom? What would you do if you had no fear?

3.   CONFUSION is the sense of being lost or unclear about our direction, the sense that we don't know our own priorities anymore.

Solution: RESPONSIBLE CHOICES. When your life’s goals are attached to the way you want to make the world a better place and contribute to others, choices become much more clear.

4.   GUILT is the belief that we have failed or sinned and deserve punishment. Guilt is either accurate, because sometimes we do behave badly, or it is false and simply an illusion.

Solution: RESTITUTION & FORGIVENESS. If you have transgressed, you must ask for forgiveness and offer to make restitution. If it is false guilt, things you had no control over, (often from childhood) forgive yourself and begin to let go.

5.   SHAME is the belief that we are worth less than others or that we have a terrible, incurable flaw. It is not that we have done something wrong (guilt), but that we are bad or wrong. 

Solution: CLEAR THINKING. Everyone has behaved badly, but no one was created badly! Overcoming challenges serves to make you stronger, more heroic or more compassionate toward others.

6. LONELINESS is the belief that no one loves us, that no one cares and we must desperately cling to anyone who finds us attractive or acceptable. This creates dependency, not intimacy. 

Solution: ACCURATE SELF-ASSESSMENT. Accept that not everyone will love you, but many people will if they get to know you.  Look for people who have similar interests.

7. RESENTMENT is holding anger and refusing to move beyond real or imagined mistreatment in the past. Some people spend their whole lives as "victims", nurturing a terrible event in their past. 

Solution: LET GO! Holding anger is self-destructive.  Life is not fair and people do not always behave as they should. Use trauma to make you wise, kind, gentle, and strong.


8. SELF-DOUBT is repeated, endless questioning of your own abilities, opinions or actions; the inability to take a stand, to act boldly, or to follow-through. 

The Solution: ACTION! Break your problem into small steps, determine a starting point, start small, and begin!

9. STUBBORNNESS is the refusal or inability to re-assess a situation, change your mind, or admit you were wrong.  Only a fool stays on a course that is headed for disaster! 

Solution: WISDOM & HUMILITY. Search for better information, become flexible, open and creative. When the situation changes, adjust with it.

10. ADDICTION  We become addicted to drugs, but we also become addicted to our jobs, our opinions or our lifestyle. We can be addicted to people and need them rather than love them. 

Solution: TAKE A VACATION! Break your habits, re-arrange your schedule, delegate those things that only you can do "right". Use habits and traditions to set you free.  Don't let habits enslave you!

Graham White