Self-Inflicted Problems


Self-Inflicted Problems

This morning the quote on my daily calendar read, “Most of the problems we face in life are man-made, and we are the man who made them.” How true is that?! Let’s face it, when we run into a problem in life we typically look at what we can blame the problem on…and none of us wants to look at ourselves! We blame our problems on lack of time, lack of energy, lack of funds, lack of resources, lack of spousal support, lack of support from our boss….and the list goes on and on. When it comes right down to it, though, we generally have a very real hand in the creation of the problems we face on a day-to-day basis. It is our lack of motivation, or inability to get organized, or “poor me” syndrome, or unwillingness to try something new that creates the problems we face.

I was thinking about this in relation to some families I know. When they run into problems or struggles with their children they immediately list all the reasons things aren’t going well – most of them relating to something with their child. We can all hear those excuses in our heads – “but my child is really tough”…”I have less support from my spouse than other people”…”this just doesn’t work with my child”…”my child isn’t interested – he won’t do it”….and the list goes on. Those explanations we come up with to explain our problems primarily serve to turn our attention away from the real problem – us. We very often are the main culprit in slowing our progress or perpetuating the problems in our lives and with our children. I’m not saying that some kids aren’t harder to work with than others, or that all couples provide each other the same amount of support, or that every strategy works with every child. What I am saying is that instead of being so quick to pass the blame onto our child, spouse, or circumstances, we need to take a good hard look in the mirror. What am I not doing that I should be? What am I doing that I shouldn’t be doing? What issues in my life are preventing me from moving forward? What changes do I need to make to be more effective? Until we answer those questions for ourselves we should reserve placing blame and laying the responsibility on everyone around us.

This week I’d like you to consider the things that you have a tendency to make excuses for, or blame others for, before reflecting on yourself. I’d particularly like you to think about this in relation to your time and relationship with your child(ren). What problems are you facing right now and what have you done to make them or perpetuate them? Then – the even more important question becomes what are you going to do to work toward a solution?

Happy Thanksgiving and until next week,

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