There is a strong dialogue in a famous Indian film called Thani Oruvan, which goes like this,
“Tell me who your enemies are and I will define who you are as a person”Thani Oruvan
This is actually very true in each and every one of our lives. Allow me to replace a word in that dialogue to better suit my article,
“Tell me about your problems and I will define who you are as a person.”
Many people at this point are feeling obscure at differentiating between enemies and problems. Most already think that enemies go about creating problems for you, but there is a fine line that differentiates the two.
Enemies are created by you when you go about solving/creating problems.
In the journey of life, every human endures a lot of difficult periods and faces many problems along the way. The way you face these problems defines you as a person. But many always leave it a tad too late to solve their problems and for what would have been a simple solution would now have become huge and a “possible” solution might be out of their hands.
The first step in solving a problem is accepting and understanding the root cause for it. Many don’t like to accept responsibility for their problems as they feel that it undermines themselves and go around searching for “momentary highs”.
Chasing Highs Instead of Focusing on the Problem
When you are confronted by a problem which arose due to your mistakes, your immediate reaction will not be to analyze the problem but to distance yourself from it to your friends or relations even when you know deep down that you are the main reason for it.
These are some of the responses or the explanations you would have heard people give about their problems or you yourself would have been guilty of giving these responses.
“Ever since I moved to this home, I haven’t had a moment of peace. All my problems only started after moving in to this home.”
“I told him so many times that we shouldn’t do this together. But he never listened to me. I knew from the very start that this would not be worth our time. He is the reason why I have now incurred a huge loss.”
“My friends forced me to go out last night. I never really wanted to go. If they had not forced me then I would have completed my work on time and would have reached office early.”
Reasons for seeking Temporary Highs
You would surely agree with me that you would have heard at least one of three responses I gave you. In all the three responses, the person does three things:
- Distances himself from the problem.
- Makes himself the victim.
- Fails to understand the problem.
These are always the first responses you hear from people after they have encountered a problem in their life. These responses are like our normal reflex actions. When we are under any sort of attack, our reflexes make sure we are protected. So when we are under an attack mentally, we don’t want anyone to harm us because of the problem and our mind functions in a way that tries to distance ourselves from the problem so that people wouldn’t blame and undermine our behavior. These responses or this type of thinking literally have no effect on the solution and it does not even lead us to the path of the solution.
These responses are described by Mark Manson as “temporary highs” in his book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck. You get a momentary high when you distance yourself from the problem or when you make yourself the victim.
People turn to these responses to give them highs when they face problems, the same way people turn to alcohol to deal with their sorrows. Neither does anything to help them figure out a solution or leads us to a path where we can accept out problems.
What Should We Do To Accept Our Problems?
The first step towards solving any problem is accepting and owning your mistakes. This is why in rehabilitation support group session, the first activity they do is ask each and every person to stand up and own their problem by saying. “Hi. My name is ….. and I am an Alcoholic”
When you do this, you resist the temptation to give out responses for just temporary highs and instead use that time and energy to analyze the problem and figure out a solution.
The first time you actually own up to your mistakes it feels like you have betrayed yourself and for many it will feel like committing a crime. But if you shy away from facing yourself then you will shy away from facing all of life’s biggest hurdles.
We need to first accept our problems, most importantly ourselves and be happy in solitude before we seek the company of someone. This will prevent us from seeking temporary highs.
Just like Tyrion Lannister said in Game of Thrones:
“Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like an armor, and it can never be used to hurt you.”
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