zen habits : breathe

Turn Toward the Problem

By Leo Babauta

Much of our lives is spent trying to ignore problems, not wanting to deal with them, procrastinating.

Bills are pushed to the side to deal with later.

People we have troubles with are avoided.

Work we don’t want to do is put off while we browse the Internet.

The diet is put off until tomorrow as we eat more junk.

Our insecurities are not admitted because we don’t want to think about them.

This kind of avoidance, unfortunately, doesn’t work. We put these things off and the problems only fester and grow worse. Bills become late and interest racks up and eventually we’ll have to deal with the bills, but they’ll be much worse than if we’d only dealt with them immediately. Our work becomes late, our waistlines become bigger, our insecurities grow.

Not facing our problems isn’t the solution.

Instead, let’s turn toward our problems.

This helped me when I was in debt and trying to avoid thinking about it — when I turned toward the debt, as scary as that was, I was able to deal with it.

It helped me deal with clutter, which is another form of avoidance. Clutter is about putting off dealing with items by putting them aside, and then they pile on top of each other, waiting to be dealt with.

Turning toward my weight issues allowed me to get healthier. Turning toward the problem of killing animals for the pleasure of food allowed me to change to a more compassionate vegan diet. Turning toward my sedentary lifestyle helped me to get more active.

It has helped my work, my relationships, my inner peace.

Turning toward a problem is scary as hell. That’s why we avoid it. But you can overcome that fear and do it anyway. You can look the problem directly in the face and open yourself up to it. Only then can you deal with it, and see that it’s not as scary as you think. Because by turning away from the problem, we give it power, and the fear of it rules our lives.

Let’s take away that power, and shine a little light on the problem. Allow ourselves to feel the pain, to feel the fear and still take action. To begin the healing. To begin to create something new and amazing from the ills that have been hiding in the dark.

Turn toward the problem and you turn it into something beautiful.



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