When Is the Issue Not the Issue – Find and Fix the Root Cause

One of the things that really irritates me is when someone tells you (me, my clients, someone else) with great sincerity and “wisdom”, you just need to get over it.

Sometimes they say it more nicely, like – “Or you could develop more self-control.” “Or more self-discipline.” Or “you shouldn’t care what THEY think.” Or…

What they are really saying is “I don’t have that problem… and I’ve never had that problem…. So, how tough can it be?” (Or “I’ve had that problem but I don’t remember what it was like to lick it.”)

I mean, how tough can it be, right?

And THAT is what really bugs me about it.

I guarantee that if it was easy, you (me, them, we) would already be doing it.

But their advice works, doesn’t it? (At least sometimes?)

Only sort of. Only for a short time. Only while everything is going good. If all you need is a one-time, short-term, adrenaline-filled solution, then it might be a workable answer. However, it’s not sustainable. Try using that “100 yard dash” strategy for running a marathon… or even a 5K run.
And what good is a “solution” if it only works when everything is going right, when you are feeling good, and the world is cooperating? Heck, if I had everything going right, if I was always feeling good, and the world was cooperating, I wouldn’t need to “get over it” or to “tough it out”. Would I? And neither would you.

So, if it isn’t helpful to simply tell people to “get over it”, what is helpful?

To discover what is REALLY preventing you from doing it — whatever problem or obstacle “it” is.

Because until you can uncover the root cause, you are just “chasing the pain”. Treating symptoms may make you feel better temporarily, but in the end, it just covers the problem and delays the true solution. And, in many cases, delay will end up costing you more.

Have you decided that it has cost you enough? Then it’s time to expose the root cause.

Sometimes, you can do this on your own. Sometimes you need an outside eye to help spot it.

Who should that outside eye be? It depends — on you and the problem.

Sometimes, it can be a root cause that your friend can see (and, maybe,has seen but has been too considerate to point out to you… because they saw you weren’t ready to deal with it.) Sometimes it may take a trained professional (therapist, coach, mentor, teacher) to help you discover it.

Earlier, I said that if it was easy to change, we would already be doing it. And that implies that correcting the issue is hard. But the paradox is that once the root is exposed, it is often easily (and quickly) corrected. This is partly because you are finally treating the real issue.

It is easy to treat pneumonia when you know that is what you are dealing with, but very hard if you think you should be treating a cold. And, for some reason, the treatment for a cold just doesn’t work.

So, what’s your issue that you can’t seem to correct… the one that someone has already told you (at least once), “get over it!”? (Okay, you probably have more than one. I certainly did… and probably still do. That’s okay, just pick one.)

Take a look at what might be behind it. Look below the surface. Rule out what you thought was the problem. You have been trying to treat the wrong thing. Take a look at the problem with new eyes.

If you still can’t see it, then ask a friend if they have any insights. If that doesn’t give you the “aha” that you need, then it’s time to work with a professional.

Have you tried to correct it yourself until you’re about worn out? I know the feeling. Are your friends drawing a blank when it comes to this issue? Yep, I’ve been there. Perhaps it’s time to call in the pros. Go ahead. Click the link and get in touch with me and let’s get you taken care of. We’ll work together to uncover the root cause and then pick the appropriate solution. It’s worked for others, it can work for you.

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When Is the Issue Not the Issue – Find and Fix the Root Cause — 2 Comments

  1. I’m a cause-and-effect person. I call myself a “logistical” personality type. So let me give you a perspective from that angle.

    When something gets under your skin, or makes you angry, I have to ask myself, “why is that.” I’ve come to the conclusion that it is an attack on my values.

    When a person says: “get over that,” what they are really saying is: “I don’t value that like you do, so why are you getting so upset?”

    It really helps to study your own values, so that you know what triggers will cause you to get angry. Then you can take steps to avoid those triggers, or the people that don’t have the same values as you do.

    And if you want to talk it out with someone, then find a compassionate ear- like John Simmons, or at least someone that has the same value that you do.

  2. Thanks, Tim. I always appreciate your contributions to the topic.


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