Is it really your problem?

Think of what stresses you out. How much of it is really necessary? Have you thought about it?

Let’s take a couple of everyday scenarios.

It is time for the school run. You are struggling to get your 7-year-old out on time. Your mum cap still on before you take it off to exchange it for your professional cap, you are firing habitual questions in frustration : Are you sure you have done your homework? Have you packed your PE kit? What about your lunch box? I don’t want to be called again to bring your lunch in. Do you understand?

All that stress. Is all of that really your problem? As a devoted mother, you might answer, if I do not supervise my child in this way, I am not fulfilling my responsibility. But your role is also to allow your child to make mistakes and learn from them. By the age of seven, a child can be given certain tasks that he has to take responsibility for and packing his school bag is one example. If he forgets something once and gets told off in school, it is very likely he will be extra careful next time round.

I am talking from experience. My son had forgotten his PE kit once, and being very keen on sports, he had managed to phone me to bring his kit in for him. I had obliged like a dutiful mother first time round. Second time round within the span of a term, I decided to hold him accountable and soon reaped the rewards of him packing his own bag….no more stress on that count. He never forgot his kit, or anything else for that matter, again.

Another case in point. Say you live with someone who is obsessed about being environment friendly or just has a pet peeve of lights being kept on unnecessarily. So every time you walk out of a room and maybe leave the lights on, you get to hear a earful. Of course, you counter with something like: “I was just going to go back in”, or “Why do you have to make such a big thing out of it? Just switch it off”. It happens over and over again and of course the exchanges can get more frustrating on both sides. The agitated energy drains both parties unnecessarily. So whose problem is it anyway?

I would venture to say the onus lies on the person who has the obsession in the first place. In his book, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff (in Love), Richard Carlson, describes how this similar scenario was a bone of contention with his wife. All it took to resolve it was for the person with the compulsion, to simply switch off the light without referring to it. Simple.

Do you have other examples you could share? Leave it in my comments below.

2 thoughts on “Is it really your problem?

  1. i think the problem lies in the person’s environment and not the person himself. eg your son has a dutiful mother who taught him well and problem disappeared; the lights run on sensors, then no more argument : )) my apologies if this answer appears too naïve!


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