Episode 23: This Doesn’t Have To Be A Problem

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So much of what we struggle with doesn’t have to be a struggle at all. We create problems that don’t really need to be a problem in the first place. What would change for you if you were able to pick and choose what your problems would be? Do you think you’d choose so many to be problems? Or if you had the choice, would you say, “no thanks” to most (if not all) of them? On the podcast I teach you how to do just this. Tune in with LDS Life Coach Hannah Coles and learn more!

Episode 23: This Doesn’t Have To Be A Problem

I’m Hannah Coles, and you are listening to the Confidence Catalyst Podcast episode 23: It doesn’t have to be a problem

Welcome back, everyone! I love this time of year. School is back in session, things are little more structured, and routine is in force. Fall feels imminent, which is my all-time favorite season. Pumpkin spice is everywhere, and I’m just loving all of it. What about you? Are you loving this time of year?

Have you joined yet?

I have to tell you; I am also LOVING the new membership site. The Catalyst membership is where it’s at my friends’. If you’re not in it, you need to come join us. It’s amazing! The work we do is invaluable, and it will up-level your life. Come be a part of this incredible work. Go to my website and join the tribe. We’d love to have you. I would love to have you. It’s such a privilege and joy getting to work with so many people and helping to discover and really dive into who they are, their purpose, developing solid self-confidence, and just watching their lives transform. So good. 

This tool can change your life!

Okay, today I have a little something for you that can really have a huge impact in your life. It seems too simple and logical, but when you’re able to actually apply this, it will change everything. 

Take a moment and reflect back on your day, your week, your month even. I’m sure you’ve already juggled and struggled with many challenges, problems, setbacks, right? These might be internal or external too. These problems can weigh us down sometimes; they can affect how we show up, and if we continue to take action and move forward or if we get frustrated and stop.

Life will always present us with opportunities for growth, but here’s a little gem that can make the journey so much sweeter, ready for it?

It doesn’t have to be a problem

This is one of my favorite mantras, thoughts that I purposely choose to practice on a daily basis. It’s one of the kindest, most loving thoughts I can believe too and I’ll tell you why. 

Problem solving machine

Our amazing brain loves problem-solving. It is a problem-solving machine, literally. Day in and day out it is working on challenges, problems. It needs a problem to solve, to work on, to keep itself functioning. But here’s what I didn’t know for a long time. Here’s where I suffered needlessly for so long and I’m betting I’m not the only one either.

You get to decide what that problem is. The things you’re struggling with right now, they don’t have to be a problem at all. It’s optional. Did you know that?

It’s only ever a problem if you make it a problem. Isn’t that so kind? You get to be the one to decide if this is a problem you want to focus on, if it’s a problem at all, actually. 

Why is it a problem?

Think about something you’re currently struggling with. Ask yourself why this is a problem for you. Notice all the thought drama you’re creating for yourself by thinking this is a problem. Then allow the thought to settle for a moment that this doesn’t have to be a problem. The drama is all optional. Let your mind start working on a new problem. Only this time, the problem you’re giving it to solve is figuring out why THIS doesn’t have to be a problem in the first place.

Now I know we’re not all going through life thinking, “that’s a problem, this is a problem, problem, problem” it’s more like, “I can’t believe he just said that to me,” “Why aren’t the cars moving?!”, “Gah, I messed up again!”

While we may not be labeling these circumstances as problems or bad, we’re certainly thinking it. So the first step is just awareness; awareness is always first. You have to acknowledge what your brain is offering you before you can have any power over it.

Neutral is better than Negativity

Saying it’s not a problem really just makes the circumstance what it really is, neutral. It puts it into perspective that the circumstances don’t mean anything yet, it’s not a problem, and you get to decide what to make of that circumstance.

When your husband disagrees with you when he makes a comment that you perceive as harsh or negative or hurtful just pause for a moment. Give yourself that gift of allowing this one thought in before you do anything. This doesn’t have to be a problem. 

Then let your brain tell you why it’s not a problem. 

He’s allowed to think what he wants to think. What he says isn’t even about me, it’s about him and his perspective. Also, what he says is NEUTRAL. It doesn’t mean anything. You get to interpret that; you get to decide to elevate it into a problem or not.

Wired for the negative

This is such a kind and peaceful thought, truly. Your brain will always go to the negative first; we’re hardwired that way. It’s on the lookout for danger or potential danger but you get to decide what’s true or not. You get be the judge of this.

This is NOT to say that if nothing is a problem, then we’re all just la-de-da. There are things that I don’t agree with, that I do want to argue in favor for, that I do want to see as problems. But this way I’m given options. This way, I’m choosing my battles and my values. I’m not reactive. I’m not in victim mode that these terrible things are happening to me and it’s not fair. It’s just reminding myself that this doesn’t have to be a problem. 

Choose your problems

Then in that space of neutrality, I get to use my agency. I get to choose how I want to see this and what I want to do about it. It gives me all my power back. 

The things we stress about don’t have to be problems unless you want it to be a problem.

Instead of letting your brain decide what problem it wants to create, why not be a little more intentional and YOU decide what problem you want it to solve. Ask yourself really great questions and let your brain go to work finding evidence to prove it true. 

Finding Evidence to Prove the thought true

One exercise that I absolutely love doing is choosing one thought and using it as a writing prompt each day. You can even use the prompt, “This doesn’t have to be a problem,” and then each day let your brain go to work finding evidence to prove this true.

So many things will come when you do this. I remember when I started doing this, it popped up in little ways that I didn’t even realize I was creating problems. I would ask myself or give myself that prompt and then just go through and remember the day. 

For instance, that day I had gone to the grocery store, and I had just picked up my oldest from seminary, and the cashier asked what was on my plate for the day, and I said, “Oh school then work” and she said, “Oh, are you going back to school?!” All excited and I said, “No, I’m homeschooling my kids,” and that excitement fell from her face and turned to something sour. She told me I was ruining my kids because they weren’t getting socialized and how would they ever be able to function in the real world. 

And I wanted to make that a problem. I started to feel defensive and like, “do you not see my daughter right in front of you, living in the real world?” But I remembered this doesn’t have to be a problem and it didn’t and it wasn’t. 

Challenge, write this for a week

But give yourself this prompt, try it for a week and just see what comes up, what problems your brain wants to offer as problems, and what you’re still carrying. This awareness helps you unload a ton of extra weight that is completely unnecessary and optional. 

This truly is a gift when you give yourself the option of deciding what is a problem and what isn’t. So many, like MOST of the things in your life, don’t have to be problems. 

I love the quote by Marcus Aurelius where he said, “You always own the option of having no opinion. There is never any need to get worked up or to trouble your soul about things you cannot control. These things are not asking to be judged by you. Leave them alone.”

No opinion is an option

Not everything needs to be a problem. Not everything needs an opinion or statement or judgments. You can offer to yourself; this doesn’t have to be a problem. You don’t have to jump in there and carry that weight. You have the option of no opinion. 

Like that cashier, I WANTED to have an opinion. I wanted to think, “She doesn’t even know me. We’re amazing homeschoolers. How dare she…” kind of thing but then I realized, I don’t have to have an opinion about that. I don’t have to carry that weight, her judgments around with me. It did not have to be a problem. I could just let her be wrong about me. I could let her have her own thoughts and still show up how I wanted to show up, be who I wanted to be, and feel confident because I know what kind of person I am. 

Practice this. Engrain this thought into your mind and let it work its magic.

It really doesn’t have to be a problem unless you make it one, and do you really want to make it a problem?

Okay, that’s what I’ve got for you today! It’s such a brilliant way to live your life, so much peace, so much love, and freedom with this!

Talk to you next week!

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