A problem shared ….

I love old sayings. You know, the kind that imparts so much wisdom in a few words that puts a Descartes essay to shame – almost!

But I didn’t always! My family is very fond of these sayings and growing up no adult has ever missed the opportunity to share some of this wisdom with me. I have spent so much of my childhood and adolescence rolling my eyes at all this knowledge, it’s a wonder my eye balls haven’t been permanently stuck backwards!

I have lots of favourite ones, depending on circumstances; and it’s somewhat embarrassing to admit, that almost always one immediately comes to mind at any given situation. One that is often relevant and true is “A problem shared is a problem halved”. It is so concise and precise, it really doesn’t need any further explanation. But often we need encouragement and maybe even courage to share our problems.

We all face a variety of problems every day. Some are small and are resolved quickly and easily, others require more of our attention and energy. When we are tense or anxious however, even little problems can become insurmountable; and big problems become even bigger and impossible to resolve. What others may perceive as small and insignificant, can assume epic proportions to a stressed person, as he or she begins to ruminate, to worry endlessly about all possible scenarios that could possibly (but very unlikely) occur. Impending disasters are always on the horizon, stress levels escalate and fear settles in with pent-up emotions that are threatening to burst at any moment.

On the other hand, talking through an issue that is worrying us with a trusted friend, a colleague or a family member can help us unravel the situation and in the process we may discover a resolution. Input from our trusted other, can also offer perspective and help us see our problem from a different angle. And sometimes the solution is clearly apparent to someone else, which our troubled mind has not been able to see.

When we share our problem, we diminish its hold on us – its impact is halved, at least! We might feel relief, we might find clarity, and the support we get by sharing it, can give us the strength we need to work through it. It is important to know who we can turn to; some people are better listeners than others, some you trust more, others have the time and willingness to listen and help.

Not all problems are created equally however. At times we may be talking about the same issue over and over again, with no resolution or clear way forward. Sure talking can help, but over-talking about it, can subtly escalate it; and our trusted other may be getting impatient, especially if they begin to feel that they are not really able to help. It is important to recognise, that at times we might need specialist attention – whether it’s legal, medical, financial or emotional. Accepting that specialist help is necessary, is a significant step forward. Again we can seek recommendations and suggestions from others, or we can do our own research to find a suitable professional.  And we can help ourselves by keeping our tension and stress levels to a minimum, through the regular practice of SMT.

If you’re finding your problems too overwhelming, don’t hold on to them; they will only get bigger. Remember, a problem shared, is a problem halved!

Counselling services are available at the Stillness Meditation Therapy Centre if required. For appointments please call 03 9817 2933

© Lucy Louca, November 2014