I have a problem. In fact I often have a problem, or an issue, or a challenge. We all do. Something always comes along no matter what we call it.
I was chatting to my supervisor the other day, who is responsible for monitoring what I do in my therapy practice, both on a professional and personal level. It’s important that I’m attending to my needs, as a therapist and as an individual, so I share with him what is happening in my life.
I commented to him that if only my issues presented themselves obviously and clearly so that I could see that they were there to be dealt with. Instead they sidle up to me and almost without notice start whispering in my ear. I described them as ‘insidious’. And that’s the thing isn’t it? If we can recognise the pothole in the road ahead of us we can take action to avoid it, but often it feels more like a slow puncture – something we slowly become aware of, but we’re not sure what it is until the tyre is flat.
One of my daily habits is to write down at the end of the day three things that I’m grateful for. This allows me to acknowledge, enjoy and remember the positives that the day brought me and later it’s a reference of all the positives in my life.
I also take this opportunity to reflect on my day and write down those thoughts that have been in my head which gives me the opportunity to identify unhelpful thoughts and beliefs and to deal with them. What’s the fear or vulnerability behind the thoughts? What’s the underlying belief? If I’m able to recognise them for what they are then I’m better able to deal with them.
We all do our issues in a different way and you may or may not recognise my experience as being the way you do your issues. I don’t know if it’s a whisper in your ear, or a voice in your head, or something else. But whatever the issue is we can find a way to hear its unhelpful voice and to take action. Your way might be very different, but take time to notice those things that are unhelpful and write them down. It’s the first step in dealing with them. Acknowledging that they are just thoughts is something that I find very helpful. As soon as I write them down I often find that they don’t seem so important or influential. Then I can ask what those thoughts are about. And if I’m not able to do this myself then I can discuss them with those people in my life that I know can help.