Today I found myself telling a friend about a situation which caused me some frustration. But rather than just moaning and groaning, I found myself using a less alarming voice. I felt my emotions stay level, and my energy move in the direction of understanding both my reactions and the situation’s origins with an eye towards determining if it could be remedied or avoided in the future. As I spoke, a coil within me relaxed and the fury that I might have put into the narrative in times past abated.
As I walked to my car a bit later, I actually raised my hand in the course of an internal dialogue, almost slapping my own forehead in chagrin. I stopped myself just in time to keep from startling a random bystander. But the awakening moment persisted. I realized that the same force which I’ve been using to be angry could have been used, all these years, for problem-solving.
And then I recalled something my son used to say to me, something his pre-school teacher, the incomparable Magda Helmuth, taught him. “Now that you’ve identified the problem, what’s the solution?” This question followed any exclamation from “the soup is burning!” to “I have no clean socks!” Amazing. I’m still learning from my kid. What a world!