Whenever problems crop up in my life, I have two choices on how I look at them. The first is as an irritating problem I resent. When I take this stance, I grumble and spend a lot of energy complaining inside and out. I do the least I can get away with to get that dang irritation out of my life.

The problem with this approach, besides spending a lot of time, energy, and emotion on complaining, is that I’m not motivated to do anything more than fix the issue enough to stop it from irritating me. Which means, there’s a good chance I didn’t really solve the issue, and that I can count on it returning at some point.

The other approach I can take is this problem is really an opportunity to upgrade the area of my life that it’s in. With this view, I’m actually excited about what outcome I can create as I work on resolving it. And I’m focused on creating a real solution, not a temporary fix.

An example of this in my life is a heart-breaking situation with my sister. She has an illness that rears it’s ugly head every couple years. When she gets sick, it’s extreme. Twice she’s almost died. Her illness has become a major crisis in my family’s life.

She’ll get severely ill, be brought to the hospital by ambulance, be taken care of until she’s healthy enough to be released. But when she’s released, she’s not healthy enough to be on her own. She needs constant supervision and support. She can be in this state for months. So far, when she’s gotten this sick, my parents have taken care of her. Her care is so taxing that it has totally worn them out.

Her severe episodes of illness are unpredictable. One year, my parents were out of state, and it looked like she was going to get sick again. My family asked me to drop everything and fly out to help her. Fortunately, she was able to pull through that one without our assistance.

When she gets this sick. It’s devastating emotionally for all of us. We spend quite a bit of time supporting her and each other through these crises.

Recently, my sister had one of these episodes. She’s actually in the hospital now. I decided to address this present crisis as an opportunity to upgrade this area of my life. Unfortunately, I can’t heal her, but what I can do is find another option for her care after she’s released from the hospital. Having a family member do this for weeks or months at a time isn’t working.

Another sibling and I decided to team together to work on this. We’ve found a place my sister can go to where she can stay long enough to recover enough to not need 24-hour care. This will be a major upgrade for her and for us. We’ll know she’s getting the care she needs. We can visit and support her, but we’ll no longer need to go through the extreme stress of trying to take care of someone that ill for months at a time.

If I hadn’t had looked at this situation as an opportunity to upgrade, I would have endured it the same way we have in the past rather than looking for ways to actually improve it.

Hopefully, the problems you’re facing aren’t nearly as devastating, but looking at how you can upgrade the problem area of your life can truly raise the quality of your life.


Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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