A Problem Shared is a Problem Halved

So often we are taught to keep everything to ourselves. The following example demonstrates how this self-reliance is a mistake especially when you are upset. I was standing in line recently at the post office. Each clerk was involved with a customer who clearly had some unusual problem that seemed to require unending attention. There were three other people ahead of me in line. Each of the three held boxes that no doubt were going to require lengthy attention once the clerks were freed from their current interminable chores. I began to feel the familiar heart pounding that I experience when I am forced to wait in line. I considered my options. I could leave and try again later to mail my overnight envelope, but that would only result in more travel time and would therefore waste more time than waiting for a clerk now. I resolved to wait. I closed my eyes and asked my Higher Power to calm me, but my heart continued to race. I noticed a woman standing behind me. I took a chance and told her, “You know, my biggest weakness is waiting. I can actually feel my heart pounding through my chest.” She replied, “I know what you mean, it’s especially hard when it looks like the wait will never end.” I made eye contact with her and smiled. I already felt a lot calmer. She then smiled mischievously and said, “You know, you can say a prayer I like to say. It goes like this, "Dear God, please give me patience, and give it to me now!” We both laughed. I felt much better. I felt really connected and my sense of humor was restored. My heart pounding stopped. I was glad to share the wait with her. It was just great to know that I could turn to a complete stranger and honestly share my feelings. I am sure it probably made her feel better too. I had gotten what I needed: patience (and interestingly) I had in fact gotten it NOW. Honestly asking for help with a negative feeling is often a good risk to take. Your sharing of a feeling may facilitate another to express his or her feelings, and few things make others feel better than honestly sharing feelings.


To-do:

 Don't pick up a drug or fantasize about how using can ease your bad feelings. Using never has caused a feeling to pass. That bad feeling will only be magnified if you use. Remember that a feeling will not pass until you allow yourself to feel it. Reach out to someone instead of being uncomfortable. Make a point to start what you say with the words, "I am feeling…." This will reduce stress, feelings of being overwhelmed, and any bad feelings. It will help relieve any craving to relapse. Better to talk about a problem than to relapse over it.