Choose the positive. You have choice, you are master of your attitude, choose the positive, the constructive. Optimism is a faith that leads to success.

Bruce Lee

It is often more important to go with a problem rather than to go against it. If we want to take more responsibility for our actions, feelings, thoughts, or emotions we cannot afford the luxury of practicing avoidance with every pain that comes our way. Self-understanding most often is the result of objectivity in our lives.

In our society we are subtly trained to feel guilty whenever we feel hurt, troubled, or anxious.  “Good Americans” and Good Christians” should never be less than optimistic in faith, feeling and concern—or at least, so we have been taught.  The truth is, if we felt good all the time we would probably never grow or change.

“Riding with the pain” can, sometimes, open new vistas of awareness.  Like the function of fever, it can alert us to the precise area of personality that needs attention and work and, thereby, open the door to growth.  Next time around, when the crunch is on, don’t reach immediately for some emotional tranquilizer, but rather observe and evaluate the causes, and the justification for your feelings.

Recovery from emotional pain lies in going right on through it, with acceptance of the circumstances and acknowledgement of the reaction in as relaxed a way as possible.  Did you know the Apostle Paul knew this psychological principle well?  He called it “glorying in my tribulation.”

It can seem so habitual to react instead of respond to problems, or as I refer to, challenges.  How many times when a challenge is presented do you stop, breathe three times, and ask the question: What is the best solution?

I include myself among the many that never recognized this strategy.  For me, I would tackle challenges as they came, one after another.  Then, once the “smoke” cleared, I would wonder why the consequences of my efforts didn’t produce the results I was after.

Being in a clear state of mind is a life long dilemma.  Yet, when I can set time aside,  breathe, analyze, and start asking appropriate questions, challenges seem to resolve themselves in their natural order.  

A personal example is when I worked as a consumer service representative for a global company. The phone calls or challenges were so dominant, that my phone queue was always ready for the next one. What I learned to do through rigorous trial and error, was to meet each situation as a unique experience. I would listen, ask questions, and attempt to resolve the issue in one phone call. Then, I would breathe, compose myself (thinking and feeling), and move on to the next one.

Doesn’t it feel exhilarating when you meet or conquer a challenge?  I learned that in that brief pause, I could celebrate a win.  Not only a win for me, but for the other person, knowing that their issue was satisfied promptly and professionally.

Today, I am still inundated with problems as are you. The key is to change my mind set when they arrive. I view them as opportunities for growth and accomplishment.

Now, that is a distant philosophy from complaining, blaming, and feeling victimized. This does not mean you will win them all, however, being a victor requires personal responsibility for my communication with myself and others.

Everything is feedback, not failure.  You can only fail when you decide that you have failed.  Short term loss does equate in  long term success.  It is part of the process. Without the negative you cannot have the positive.  A useful story is included in the link below which highlights what I mean.

Meet your challenges, do not run from them.  Eventually, they will come back; so learn now how to work with them.


Kenneth M. Haystead M.A. (1987). It seems to me: Peace for today.

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