If It Doesn’t Have a Solution, It’s Not a Problem

If it doesn’t have a solution…

Do you have somebody in your life that approaches every complaint of yours as a problem to be solved? Who bypasses the details and the nuance in favor of making sweeping diagnoses and proposing a strategy to fix the situation?

I know when that happens to me, I get frustrated. Especially when the suggested “solutions” are far off base or overly simplistic and fail to address the realities contained within.

I get frustrated, but I also understand the motivation. None of us likes to see those we care about struggle and we want to be able to help, to take action.

They want there to be a solution, so they choose to see it as a problem.

Sometimes we grapple with this ourselves. We turn over a situation in our minds like a puzzle box, looking for the entry point that will lead to a resolution. Convinced that if we only searched hard enough or tried enough options, we would be able to solve the dilemma.

We grow frustrated as each attempt falls short. Internalizing the failure. Berating ourselves for failing to change another. Or to alter some external situation.

We want to be able to find a solution, so we choose to view it as a problem.

But if there is no solution,

No answer that we can reach,

No change that we can enforce,

It is not a problem to be solved.

It is a truth to accept.

So before you waste your time trying to find a solution, first make sure that it really is a problem.



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11 Responses

  1. I genuinely needed to read this today, thank you! This is exactly the struggle that I just wrote about. I keep telling myself there’s no further reason to puzzle because I can’t solve it. Great post!

  2. Patrick says:

    That is always a difficult place to be when you just need someone to listen and not try to fix the problem. It you have not seen “It’s

  3. Patrick says:

    …not about the nail”, it might explain why we men, who naturally try to fix things, do what we do. 🙃

  4. Hope says:

    Oh yes! Both my mother and my husband do this when midriff the time I just went to vent a little or I’ve already figured it out and am telling the story. I’ve begun starting the conversation with “I’ve already figured it out so I don’t need advice”.

  5. tallrachel says:

    Yep something for me to ponder as I am ‘solution-focused’…

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