Sun | Jan 21, 2018

Kelly's World | What exactly are 'real' problems?

Published:Monday | March 27, 2017 | 12:00 AM

"When you show deep empathy towards others, their defensive energy goes down, and positive energy replaces it. That's when you can get more creative in solving problems." - Stephen Covey

I've often heard people chastise their family members and friends that they don't have 'real problems'.

Now, first things first. These people are sharing their issues with you for a reason, i.e., because they actually believe you can help.

At the very least, they just need a listening, preferably non-judgemental, ear. I say preferably because we all judge in some way, shape, or form.

And anyone who tells you that they don't is a tad on the delusional side. Or they're Jesus. If they're the latter, then bring forth your healing hands, bredda, 'cause di world nah run right. But I've gone off course.

If an issue, regardless of its composition or its origin, is enough to keep a human being awake at night, make them lose weight because they have no appetite so they don't eat, or has them getting to know the inside of bars quite well, then it's a problem.

And if it's a problem that leads them to such drastic measures, then I assure you, it is quite 'real' to them.

And if it's so real, that's where the mindset of the above quote needs to come in.




Simply waving folks away with "You need some real problems in your life" is a tad insensitive, in my opinion.

But, then again, I've been known to overreact, so in the grand scheme of the universe, what do I know?

But, I always feel there's a way to hear people's issues, empathise, sympathise, and help to steer them in the 'right' direction.

Don't misunderstand. I'm not saying some people don't need 'tough love'. It has its place, for sure. But I always feel there's a difference between tough love and just being an uncaring oaf.

All some people really need is a hand on the shoulder, and a soft voice saying, "It's going to be OK". Is that too much to ask from another human being?

Why should the problems of a single man, who has no wife/girlfriend and no children, be considered 'less real' than that of a man trying to figure out how he's going to feed his family?

As I wrote in a column a couple of years ago (or less than that, I really lose track of the days now), maybe the single man is worried that he DOESN'T have a wife and child to care for.

And better yet, he may have no idea what steps to take to try and achieve the family he craves. Even worse, he may not have the courage.

So if that lonely bloke goes sobbing to someone who is allegedly his friend and all he can get is a "you need real problems", I put it to you, he's even more messed up AFTER the talk than he was before it.

But pay me no mind. This is just the opinion of a grumpy, old(ish) man who, apparently, doesn't have any real problems. Think I'll go find some.

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