Why You Should Let Your Problems Define You

Why You Should Let Your Problems Define You

Wait a minute.
He’s made a mistake with the headline hasn’t he?

He meant to say ‘shouldn’t,’ right?

Letting my problems define me is crazy, I don’t want to be defined by my problems. In fact, I don’t want any problems full stop.

This hunger to live problem free is the root cause of the problem itself.

We believe we should be living a certain lifestyle. One without problems with everything running smooth.

I offer a different view. You should let your problems define you.

The Problem is Not Your Identity

I know several people with anxiety and/or Depression. I imagine you know many people in a similar situation. Although they have tough moments in their life they do not allow their problems to define who they are. In fact they do the opposite. They fight it daily, seeking new ways to destroy the way they feel. It is not their defining characteristic, nor how the world perceives them. The problem you have today does not have to define you. The way you deal with it will. Choose to fight it, channel the frustration and refine who you are.

Take a Problem From 10 Years Ago

When you are in the trenches, dealing with a problem, it is easy to lose perspective. Everything about the problem consumes you and it can be hard to see a way out. If this is you right now think about a problem you had 10 years ago. 

  • How did you feel? 
  • How did you deal with it then? 
  • What did you learn about yourself? 
  • How did you improve as a person. 

We are a work in progress. Who we are today is not who we will be in 2026. Our foundations (values and beliefs) rarely change but the way we deal with adversity does. Generally we become better at it, the older we become because we learn from our experiences.

Fear is Your Real Enemy

Everyone has problems. The difference between those who deal with them and those not dealing with them is down to one thing – fear. In Knowing Why You Want to Live Is Important I talked about one of my biggest fears. The simple solution to my problem was to see a Dr. Being a typical man I chose not to do this. My fear of something serious was unfounded but the fear created inaction. If you can ignore or master the fear you are halfway to solving the problem. Which brings me to my next point.

Make Yourself Accountable – Share

When we are responsible for other people (family/friends/colleagues) it puts a different spin on the problem. If you don’t take action it may not just impact you but others also. It tends to be those closest to us that get the most upset, especially if the problem is a serious one. The positive to come from this is they will want you to do something about it. They will encourage and cajole until you take the first steps. 

What Is The Real Problem?

Many people say they want to lose weight but they get stressed and they then eat. Is this really the problem? Is eating triggering something much deeper and the issue is manifesting itself through food? Sometimes we kid ourselves about what the real problem is and we deal with the stuff on the surface. The real key is opening up that scab and working out what you are going to do with the fresh wound. Writing your feelings down, creating a mind map and searching for what else it could be can be powerful. Using this technique may be difficult and painful but remember, fear is the real enemy.

Friends Inc

If I went to and spoke to five of your closest friends, what would they say about your problem solving skills? If you are not sure then go and ask them. We tend to be down on ourselves but we are far more awesome than we give ourselves credit. I guarantee they will be able to pinpoint the moments where you have kicked a problem into touch. Use this as inspiration for tackling the latest problem.

Your Mistakes Are You

If you think back to the mistakes you have made the experiences define who you are today. With time we can look back and laugh. At the time embarrassment rules, knocking your ego and making the issue seem bigger than it is. Take credit for the success and the failures in your life. You will learn far more about yourself from the latter and enhance who you are in the process.

Remove the obstacles in your life and use the above techniques to help you . Know that the problems you are wrestling are creating experiences. These experiences will help you further down the road. Who you are today is a result of how you dealt with the problem. Who you are in the future is still to be defined. Let your problems define you.

Believe and Take Action

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Ian Ruane

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