My upbringing drilled in to me that it’s not polite to discuss your woes in public. Don’t play the victim. Never show weakness, especially as a man. Always put up a front that you’re confident and in control. Of course, that’s not how the world actually works. Surely we all understand by now that you need to acknowledge that a problem exists in order to fix it.
Life is an Editing Process
We all face challenges in life. That’s reality. We can’t control everything. What we can do is try to set up better conditions. Don’t put yourself in harm’s way. Stop eating transfats. Get more exercise. Avoid toxic people. Spend less time on social media. Eliminate things you don’t need, that aren’t helpful or productive, to make space for the things you want.
Create More, Consume Less
The more that you are able to do for yourself, the more confident you become. Instead of paying for convenience, creating more time for mindless entertainment, learn how to do things. People tell me they don’t have time to cook, or work on creative projects, or play tabletop games. Yet the average American spends 24 hours per week online, and still spend over 35 hours per week watching television. That’s time that could be spent learning something, practicing something, and making life more stable and sustainable.
Embrace New Possibilities
We can not only do a better job of avoiding problems, we can get better at solving them. I’m not proposing some radical, monastic existence where we avoid all possible challenges and do nothing but chop wood and carry water. But the way that I’ve solved problems is by facing them rather than avoiding them. Educating myself on the actual issues. Making connections with people who have the knowledge and abilities that I don’t. Applying basic critical thinking skills. That comes not from crisis management, but how we choose to live our everyday lives.
Overcoming Life’s Challenges
This post probably sounds vague, but that’s on purposes. Your issues aren’t my issues. I’m not trying to address specifics, but to find a way to include a broad range of things people struggle with. The solutions all have things in common. I think that it takes more strength to be honest and authentic than to put up a front. That’s the first step. You need to be in the world, doing things, having experiences so you can learn and gain confidence. That’s the bulk of it. The rest is just being in their and trying, rather than waiting for someone else to come along and fix it for you.