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March 23, 2018

Stop talking about your problems

We see it everyday:
* people on their cell phones, talking animatedly about what another person did to them, and what they told them (or wished they had told them) in reply
* people on TV, complaining about this or that relationship and not knowing what to do about it
* people in the office, chatting up anyone who will listen to their difficulties with this coworker, or that boss


All these people have somehow learned that’s it’s good and healthy to talk about their problems. Even self-health professionals like me have said so: “it’s good to talk about your problems with someone, instead of keeping it all stuffed inside.”


No, it’s not. Talking about our problems is not healthy. It is not productive, and it actually makes things worse. Why? Because talking about our problems is something we do with a third party in order to gain validation that we’re not to blame. We want the third party (and sometimes 4th, and 5th parties) to agree with us that we are somehow unjustly suffering.


The healthiest among us, those with the most successful relationships, do not talk about their problems; these people talk through them.


Talking through our problems means working through them, struggling to figure out a solution. Talking through our problems means we’re willing to see our contribution to the situation, and are ready to change our part. Finally, talking through our problems means choosing to address the person we’re having the problem with directly–we only invite a third party in order to provide some objectivity about our role and help us see that role more clearly.


Try not to talk about your problems today; try talking through them instead.


Peace begins with pause,


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