When life goes sour there are many questions that I start to rattle off in my head. Why did I go to that mental space again? How did I let this get out of hand again? When will this all make sense? Who the hell do I think I am? What the hell even happened?? These questions might start the reflection process but they don't work towards solving the root of the problem.
I often discuss the issue of neglecting to work on the root of the problem. Most of us tend to focus on the symptoms of the problem, placing a temporary fix, like placing a bandaid over the nail that is stuck in our foot. In order to really relieve the pain, you have to remove the nail and allow for the healing to begin. Of course, pulling the rusting nail out will hurt like the dickens but once its out you can nurture your foot back to health. Using this bandaid method only sustains the pain. Numbing with pain relievers and continuing to cover it up, results in a nagging ache that won't ever go away. Sometimes this neglect will result in a very serious situation, forcing you to remove the nail but now there is all sorts of added pain such as infection, increasing the amount of time and level of expertise needed to heal this wound. I now personally choose to go through the pain, knowing that it will be temporary, so that I can have health and happiness for the rest of my life.
When I am reflecting back on a situation that has not gone in the way in which I hoped, the first question I ask myself is "What could I have done differently?". You know the definition of insanity right? Doing the same thing over and over, yet wondering why you keep getting the same results. By asking yourself this simple question you start to uncover the point at which you are straying from your path and with enough investigation you will start to uncover the reason you are straying in the first place, which is the root of the problem.
For example, last week I continued to spend money on eating out, despite the fact that I had also spent a good bit of money on groceries. So instead of just beating myself up, I started to ask myself what I could have done differently so that this wasn't a reoccurring problem. Through this I concluded that I needed to have quick and easy meals that I can make from pantry staples, so that my excuse of being too tired to cook would no longer be an excuse. I also brought into focus that I hate having to do dishes before I even start cooking, so ensuring that I tidy my kitchen as I go will take this excuse off the table as well. By taking the time to come up with easy meals made from foods I always have and tidying my kitchen on the regular I have begun the process of removing the nail.
Another, bigger example is why I quit drinking. I was tired of the physical and moral hangovers, I was tired of the pull it had from my health and wellness, and I was tired of the way it affected my relationships. Before I started to look at it this way, I simply managed the symptoms of this problem. I would only drink so much or on certain occasions and would make sure that I was safe when I did drink. I would try to drink different types of alcohol and did my best to hydrate and make sure to eat while consuming the booze. None of these changes actually changed anything because they were not the root of the problem. Because I neglected actually removing it for so long there was definitely a lot of infection that surrounded this problem but when I did finally remove the nail I allowed myself to start the healing process. I am still going through this healing phase and my wound is still sensitive but I know that I am on the right path as I have tackled the root of that problem. I can see how much I have already healed and I know that a full recovery is in sight.