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Take out the trash

If you try to hide the garbage under your bed so you don’t have to look at it, your house will look clean, but it will still stink. If you try to suppress your issues so no one knows you have problems, you may look happy, but you’ll still feel rotten.

Examples abound of people who wear big smiles and say “everything is okay” while they really feel miserable on the inside. None of us wants to turn into that person.

So, it would seem that the obvious conclusion is that we should deal with our problems and not simply ignore them, right?

Well, kinda…

It depends on what you mean by “deal with a problem.”

In our garbage analogy, we’ve already established the fact that your house will stink if you hide your garbage under the bed. As a result, many people, in an effort to avoid being in denial, go to the opposite extreme; they drag their garbage into the living room to analyze and discuss each individual piece of debris in great detail. That’s certainly a more honest approach, but it still stinks.

Why? Because you haven’t successfully dealt with the garbage until you’ve thrown it away. Analyzing the garbage is no better than hiding the garbage if your analysis isn’t moving you closer to throwing it away. Letting it go must be the end goal.

It’s okay to be honest about what you don’t like. Just remember that the value of that honesty, in this regard, lies in the fact that it helps you to clarify your preferences.

Through the experience of discrepancy and the exploration of contrast, we arrive at a more refined understanding of who we are, what we want, and how we’re going to live. Once we have that information, the manifestation of a solution requires that we let the problem go and begin focusing our attention constructively. If analyzing and discussing your problems isn’t helping you do that, then you’re just sitting around playing with garbage in the middle of your living room floor. If you keep doing that, you’re going to look up one day with a disgusted expression on your face and say “This stinks!”

You don’t want that. So, go deal with the garbage in your life. And by “deal” I mean spend JUST enough time, and not a second more, organizing it so you can let it go and throw it away as quickly as possible.

That’s my two cents,

T.K. Coleman

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