The statement: "I'm experiencing so many problems that I don't have time to fix them."
Of course, juggling them is very difficult for any human being - but only by isolating one at a time can we whittle away the problems to clear up more "space" to live our lives the way we want to live them.
Her implication was: ...so, I'm screwed, stuck, and can't get any better. (Which has also a "justifying story" in it., which when repeated grooves in even more powerlessness and passivity.)
HOW CAN THIS BE SOLVED? WHAT APPROACH TO TAKE? IDEAS TO CONVEY?
How can I get across to her some things that she should be convinced of, in a way that works, rather than trying to push against the opposite?
What will make a difference for her? What program should be done so that the improvement will be installed and cumulative?
What is it she is forgetting to be aware of or is just not aware of? How can I complete this enough so that she can take it and move forward to progress?
How do I do this so that there is not just a passing relief, with the methods or conversations that worked soon being forgotten or discarded. (How can I get her to put those in a reference place, right now, not later, so that she can reference such reminders?) How can I get her to know the reality of always being at cause over her life, without it being trivialized or understood "on the surface" or not believed, while she sticks to some unproven theories at times or does not know them sufficiently to understand them. How can I get her to give up the idea that somehow affirmations can override beliefs and thoughts somehow magically? (Cause In The Matter Of My Life - you must, to have a good life, be convinced that you are "cause", and not "effect", in life.) How can I explain, that unless there is a car about ready to run over her, that there is no emergency, no reason not to pause, no danger in not handling something for a minute or two or...or to understand that urgency is not a matter of what is occurring but a perspective and a decision. And System One is always trying to get us back to homeostasis, so if it has lots of problems to deal with at once and/or you are sending it signals that this is impending danger, it will react and react and react....until you're exhausted. (This is included in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.) I must also get across the point that 'passiveness toward problem solving and completing the process' is evidence of perpetuating passiveness's cause, the belief that one is not powerful enough and/or that one can get away with not being proactive in life. There is no other decent choice, really: we must simply choose proactivity to create a good life, as the other option really sucks! We must overcome and get straight about the reality that we are not still children or adolescents - and that we are damaged when we hold onto that story and its sub-stories, which we cannot even afford to repeat in our minds or outloud.
And we must substitute a conversation that is realistic to the effect of "we have sufficient power to solve all major problems that we create, and that we need not criticize ourselves as if we were little children needing to be motivated by suffering or punishment.
And I need to convince her that the symptoms (also called problems or effects) only repeat if we choose not to address the cause of the symptoms.
THE CIRCUMSTANCES AND THE UPSET: OPPORTUNITY TO LOOK AND IMPROVE
She called and she was upset and wanted me to not interrupt as she just needed to get it all out, so that the stress would drop, so that she could then think rationally. Most of the conversation was in the mode of "this is what happened to me", and not "this is what I created through my practiced conversations and/or lack of knowledge."
THE MORNING'S LAUNDRY LIST:
I'm upset, bad thing after bad thing happened this morning - and I chose not to take a break.
I. Financial juggling: [She keeps complications in finance.] I tell myself a poverty story. I'm not going to make it financially. [She tells herself upsetting stories, predicting some vague sort of Armageddon, not using coping statements, such as "I'm ok right now. I will solve this. I am much better off always than most people in the world. I'll always eat. No real problems, just inconveniences."]
a. Check juggling, disorganized system. I have to call the banks that receive the checks and get the checks over to my main checking account, and I'm so worried about extra costs, due to urgency cost or late penalties. I tell myself "I'm not going to make it financially.' (aka "I'm screwed and life will suck and I'm unable to handle it.") [A bit like lying on the freeway cursing all the cars as they go thump, thump over your body, but still lying there, because the effort required to get up off the freeway and cure the problem is just too much or because one is "use to", accustomed, to this type of life.]
b. Phone charges juggling. On top of all of this, I had to deal with the phone company on this temporary plan where I was trying to save money and I probably waited too long so I incurred greater costs, but I couldn't stand that financially, so I made up a "poor me" story and got $10 off, but I felt bad as I lived the drama I was speaking of. [This is a bit like repeating any negative story that involves yourself: your System One goes into reacting to solve the problem and since you deal with things from an "I'm bad" or "I'm incapable and I've got to punish myself to get myself in gear" syndrome....Giving up all stories,giving up explanations of why you have the problem (which you only want to tell once and only when it is for solving the problem, not just telling it; otherwise, it's just an excuse or a "reason why not".)
c. Internet savings juggling, deciding. And I'm trying to save money on the internet charges, so I end up with a slow connection and have to wait and wait for pages to come up. I'm trying for $15 more to see if it is worth it to be faster. I just can't afford all this stuff. I'm in poverty. [Yet she rents a house in Cape Cod that totals up to a huge number of $10 and $15 little charges or happenings, so the behavior is not seen in perspective, and definitely not consistent.]
d. Can't do a budget...worries ongoing... (see the reason, below) [and not allowing an advisor to see your budget is hiding, but not forwarding at all.
e. I am always squeezing my dollars. [' I am dealing with it over and over.' "Over and over" is a sign of not solving the basic problem, and, as a result, just ending up dealing with the symptoms over and over and over and over...]
Laptop went out. I so much depend on it. ('Screwed without it...') I have a service contract. Out for 2 1/2 hours. [No coping statement that comes up automatically, such as "this is a temporary inconvenience. I'll be fine. I'll just deal with it if I have to and it'll be solved....]
III. No break, continued stressing. It was one thing after another. I didn't take a break and it compounded but I kept telling myself rational stuff instead. It did not work. (See related discusion, below.) [She did not employ the guarantee to success in life: Pause, Plan, Pace, an essential element of Power In Life.)
WORRY ABOUT MY FINANCES AND MAKING IT
And I worry about my finances...[but I am trapped.].
The self-set trap: [continuing the sentence from above], but I can't do a budget to solve this because I [reason #1] need to have my filing system organized so that I can retrieve the data, and [reason #2] I can never seem to get around to doing that huge activity, so the problem [symptoms and bad thoughts] persists, feeding on itself...
Thinking outside the box, problem solving
[If she asked "Is there another way?" or engaged in a conversation with someone else, asking the same question, then there might be an answer that works better: Just pick out the key items that must be available for reference, put the other stuff in a big box or boxes (label them) for now, and then just file the future bills as they come in, and use those figures for the budget, using a budget form(s) where you can record several months' worth. Then you can do the standard spreadsheet where you split the expenses into three columns, listing opposite the spending type the dollars involved, deciding which are 1. basic and essential, 2. which are added and very important for life satisfaction and 3. which are luxuries, which cost alot and deliver very little for the buck. When you do subtotals for each category, you'll find that your basics are well-covered and that you're safe, which is something you definitely need to know.]
Although she'll probably try to convince me otherwise, and to convince me about how terrible it is or how unsolvable it is, I think an objective, higher level perspective will prove that she is in a good position in life financially.
THE NO-BREAK, TALKING ON TOP OF THE OTHER INTERNAL CONVERSATION, AND STRESS
'It was one thing after another. I didn't take a break and it compounded but I kept telling myself rational stuff instead.' [Seems that talking to oneself is not as effective as getting off the stress wheel, but only a way of trying to fight it without actually doing what is necessary: get off the stress wheel - take a break, as we humans need that - and we don't get away with violating the rules. 'I understand how System One goes into a bit of a panic, like I can't stop and rest, I must deal with this, much as if it is a real threat.' So there is a perception of there being a real threat and that is a real killer, so to speak. But the truth is, and the conversation should be "it is no big thing, just small stuff".
She, as most of us do, simply misread her own capacities. She needs to commit to taking breaks, similar to the Pause, Plan, Pace article on this site.]
"I thought I could deal with it by self-talk instead of taking a break.' [Conjuring up "rational" answers is a bit difficult in the situation itself, as the higher brain is normally shut down quite a bit and not very inventive or effective.
Although not exactly the same, there is still a valid analogy with 'going into a battle unprepared', or with just some small weapon and no armor, and hoping all will work out. The weapons need to 1. be chosen and then there needs to be 2. practice so that it is automatic in the moment. And so it is with life. We make decisions about life - and if they are solid, realistic, and sound then they will serve us when we need it. If we don't program things in to System One, then we have to use System Two in the moment, which is quite depleting, especially if System One is fighting it with some other less carefully decided, rehearsed conversation.
So, we have to decide when in a higher thinking, focused state, 1. what is true and should be the conversation (philosophy, statements, affirmations, etc.) and 2. then rehearse them to the point that they are installed, which means they will show up automatically, virtually effortlessly. Trying to override your primitive brain in the moment invokes a real battle. To have "peace", so to speak, you need to have settled clarity. And to have clarity one needs to 1. decide ahead of time what is right, specifically, clearly, and then 2. install it (write it out, re-read it, learn it so it is owned by you and available).
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE, TO GET ACTUAL RESULTS?
So, you ask, now what do I do? What do I say? How do I think up those things?
1 Read on this site and/or
2. Decide to live life in the "feedback-improve, live cumulatively better" mode
To do the latter, you need to use your own "prompter" system, using your ability to direct your attention to what is going on: 1. Notice when you are upset. 2. Ask yourself why, in terms of your thinking, did this emotion come about. (in other words, the cause is never the circumstance, for all circumstances are neutral); basically the cause is always what you are telling yourself.
Key viewpoint to change. Drop the habit of holding life as if things just "happen to" you, as if you are a passive recipient instead of the creator; and pay attention when you tell your story using the passive tense and switch over to the "I caused it" conversation (for you did!). The repeated new conversation is "I cause all that happens in life. I cause the emotions and dilemmas in life. All of them."
Yes, the circumstances and outcomes in life are not all controllable by us, but how we react to them is controllable [you've heard that over and over] in the sense that we can 1. control the conversation and 2. control our way of looking at things - and that is what causes the emotional reaction, not the circumstances. [When you are conscious, focused, and able to think, create, and write down, the new conversation and way of looking at things. Then rehearse it until learned.]
We must be clear on the basic formula and not hold it as some kind of theory, as it is well-established and proven:
A (the event) happens, then B is we tell ourselves something about it (that something is called a belief, viewpoint), and then (C) our automatic wiring in System One creates an appropriate emotion. The emotion is always appropriate (and valid) to the signal we are giving ourselves in terms of what the circumstance means to us: if we think we are threatened, we feel fear; if we think we are unable to cope with a loss, we feel sad, and perhaps in danger because we believe we are unable to cope well enough to survive ok; if we think that mistakes are threatening, we feel threatened (fear); when we feel fear, our body tightens for action, with the built in flght/flight response; if we think we can do nothing to recover, and keep thinking the threat thoughts, we go into panic, thinking we are going to be screwed since we tell ourselves we can do nothing about it and then we keep adding fuel to the fire about how awful it is and how threatening it is and how we can't do anything about it.]
A --> B --> C. That's it. A truism. A sequence, a causal relationship where we have to identify the "right-cause" (e.g. B) and not make up that it is caused by the "wrong-cause" (e.g. A)
I JUST DON'T HAVE THE TIME
[It is a basic fact of life that everything has tradeoffs. If we don't spend the time (our "cost") to solve a basic (usually structural )problem, then we will spend alot of time dealing with the symptoms we could have prevented - and we could have eliminated the suffering. (The old "a stitch in time saves nine")
There always seems to be more urgency to something else, besides long term importance items, that has to be done that day, so I [insert my 'reason' for] never get to fixing my filing or to budgeting or to... [She needs to learn to differentiate about importance and to be clear about what is of little importance or little impact and that it is just that and only that: of little impact. At least 90% of what you can do is of little impact.
And many "little impact" items can just be let go, with no real lasting effects, just disappearing into the "never done" pile. Yes, there could be some "little impacts" that are negative from not doing some of the little things, a slight bit, but the time that is freed up from dealing with "small stuff" can be used to create "big, good stuff - for a large 'net' benefit". This is both a matter of discriminating about what is truly urgent (versus put-off-able, aka 'positive procrastination") and about what is the next thing to do that is the best use of one's time. Going into panic and being anxious about it all just leads to confusion, upset, and lots of unnecessary stress (much ado about nothing). Stopping and looking at things in perspective is THE KEY necessity to living a good life, for it allows you to use your thinking brain to make good decisions. (That's why I urge you to develop this skill: Decision-making. And why I urge you to develop the practice of Pause, Plan, Pace.) [It appears to be a self-set trap. 'Everything else is too urgent, so I don't have enough time to solve the problem, so I have to deal with the symptoms, which uses up my time dealing with the urgent symptoms, so that I can never have time to solve the problem'...and on and on. (What you do not complete, you are doomed to repeat...and repeat...and repeat. You need to just look and ask "am I willing to let this repeat over and over" or is it worth it to me to do Quadrant II thinking and activities to prepare for and/or to prevent problems in the future.) ]
YOU HAVE TO INSERT THESE KEY ITEMS INTO YOUR SCHEDULE AND DO THE WORK
Notice that all of the things I am asking you to do are in the Quadrant II box of something being important but not urgent or mandatory feeling for the moment. It takes a bit of perspective to know that the prevention and preparation activites in Quadrant II will have a huge long term payoff, stopping most of the Quadrant I crises and problems. See Urgency Vs. Importance and The Four Quadrants (take the test on this page, too).
And please don't quit or divert yourself to something else that is urgent or the problem of the day. You've got to stick with each of the key steps until you've gotten an effective degree of mastery - and then life will compound upward...and become so much easier and so much more enjoyable.
VALIDATION FROM ANOTHER
"I'm feeling no sense of validation. It doesn't seem like there is any feeling like you really care that much about the person."
That is valid that I should have a better way of conveying validation, and...
It's interesting to note that I, and all of the people I know who are progressing well in life, do not depend on other people validating me, or making me feel ok about myself - as I am the one who is solely responsible for doing that for myself. Depending on or needing another to do that for me puts the power outside of the hub of my wheel of life and would throw me out of balance.
Also, if another person is not warm enough to me or understanding enough to me, that is simply a reflection of the natural human thing where each person's System One prioritizes what seems of greatest concern and deals with that item, using System One (System Two is the higher brain) or it is that they simply do not know yet how to communicate better. If they are otherwise beneficial to be around, I accept that benefit and do not set myself up with "unreasonable expectations" (to have people know better than they know at the time, which is a physical impossibility) or any dependency.
Paraphrasing, "You don't give me enough credit or recognition for all the hours and hours I spend on learning and improvement."
Well, I also can't "see" you doing it. If you want me to know about it, then you must inform me of it - how else would I be able to acknowledge what you do?
[You are not "wrong" or "bad" because of doing this, nor am I criticizing/judging you. I am pointing it out, in the mode of "let's deal with it" and solve things and move forward in life.]
YOUR PROGRESS AND "COMPLETION"
Yes, I do see that you have alot of knowledge and theories, much of which is/are correct, but that you also have some misunderstandings. And I also note that you rarely do the things I suggest, so I am guessing that you do not "complete" things, having no evidence to the contrary.
And, of course, I also note that if there is still a symptom that you are experiencing over and over, you must not have done the work to solve the cause - simple cause and effect.
The only way you can get to a better place down the road is to do the work.
Now, it may be that you are working hard but doing the wrong work or the work that is less effectual, but I cannot know what that is without your telling me. Very, very seldom do you follow through with the written work I ask you to do, so I am in the dark. And if you continue to insist on holding back information from me because you are embarrassed about it or might not look good, then I am also in the dark. I have to look for clues, on my own, to fill in what is missing in actual disclosure.
But, then, the responsibility for progress is 100% yours (besides what I contribute), so you are the one who makes the choice to complete on things or not. And you are the one who must insert it into your schedule with enough time to complete it - and, if you want to make more progress, then you've got to do the written assignments, without repeating the reasons for not doing it or saying it is too hard to type (learn better if you need to). See Why In Writing.
Also, we need to stick with one thing at a time, in order to complete, and let the others ride (perhaps on a list, then prioritized to see what is next in importance), so that we can master sufficiently a skill or a bit of knowledge - and make it certain and be clear about it. Note that clarity is a key source of power and that strong people have strong clarity. AND, note that clarity is achievable by anyone.
AND "LATER" DOESN'T COUNT
As I am familiar with the bad habit of putting aside many things to "read later" or deal with later' because I don't feel like', it is a habit to stop doing. When there are more than a few things set aside, then it is an indication of this bad habit being continued.
I, of course, if I am to achieve what will work better for people, need to "complete" better, with step-by-step adequately detailed learning and implementation programs that are time-efficient and yet very effective. The right program would lead people directly to what is needed and doable. Meanwhile...
WHAT TO DO NEXT
For now, use the links imbedded in this article to create a reading program (OK to just read the links in the order they are already in), allowing lots of time to link to other items but always coming back to the link from this page, until you complete the education.
Hopefully, I can add a lesson plan to this, but alot of the elements are already included in the links above. The key is to learn these things and to no longer print and put aside things for later - and to complete all the writing exercises and the installation of the new statements. The source of the new statements, of course, can come from noting when you are upset and what you are telling yourself, so you'd write those down and then look at how and to what to change those to.