Patrick Star here, from Spongebob Squarepants, has the right answer. But how can that be if he is known as probably the stupidest character in the TV programme? If he can think this how come a lot of us think that he is wrong?
OK, we have a problem, now what?
First look at the problem itself and ask yourself where is the problem? Is a problem with you or is it from elsewhere? Now you really need to think about this one. It is very easy to think that all problems are never your fault. This is especially easy when you consider the world we live in. We are surrounded by adverts that ask us whether you have had an accident that is not your fault. A culture where things must be someone else’s fault and they should pay for it. This sounds great to those who want money to buy things they couldn’t otherwise afford. I remember lots of cases where people were sued for the craziest reasons to get money. There was a case where a mother tripped over her own child in a supermarket and sued them for her injuries because there wasn’t a trip hazard sign. Or there was a case where someone sued a well-known show manufacturer because their laces came untied and they tripped over them.(If you were around when this happened you may remember the invention of discs on trainers that were used instead of laces for a while. This then turns into anger and resentment, spreading rumours and then into arguments and broken relationships.
Sometimes problems can be caused by other people. So what? The next thing you need to do is use mindfulness and look at the “problem” as if it was happening to someone else. When you normally look at a problem emotions come into play. Anger and fear blind us to the truth often keeping problems going a lot longer than they should. For example, if someone bumps into you by accident it is over in an instant but you may be angry about the incident for days and may even refer to it for years to come.
Is it still a problem?
As I said before, we are inclined on making problems last longer than should. If the problem has passed just forget about it and move on.
If the problem was caused by a person will you see them again? If it is a place will you go there again? If the answer is, or can be, no then you may never have to face it again then follow the advice above.
Is the biggest problem your reaction to a situation or the situation itself? The mindfulness bit should have answered this. If the answer is “your reaction”, then would the problem stop or not exist if you had reacted differently? You could change the whole situation by apologising or just forgiving yourself.
Summary – how is Patrick Star right?
If the problem is your reaction to a problem it is your fault. Decide what you are going to do about it.
If it is someone else’s fault decide whether you can change the situation or forget about it.
Using mindfulness allows us to remove emotion from the situation and look from the outside. If we do this we are able to think more clearly and we are able to listen to new ideas that we wouldn’t otherwise have thought of.
In these, we are able to search more deeply into ourselves to find the answers we seek.