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Trade-Up Or Trade-Down?

January 12, 2018



What better time than a new year to talk about problems?! Sure, it's not the most comfortable topic for most. But, I'm on a one-woman mission to change that.


More specifically, it's important to note that we ALL have problems--some more than others, for sure. But, you can bet, everyone has them.


The trick, then, is to pick your problems carefully. Will you "trade-up" and trade really bad problems for other, not-so-bad problems? Or will you "trade-down" and create worse and deeper problems for yourself?


Here's an example: I hate winter. I mean, HATE, winter. It's painful for me, even physically, to be cold. So, as I found myself in Chicago enduring the two worst winters on record, I had a big problem.


Then, we had the opportunity to move to Hawaii... again. And, to be sure, it was a pretty easy decision. But, I had to be careful--moving to Hawaii wasn't going to get RID of all my problems. It would only change them.


Instead of the winter "problem," I now have a cost-of-living "problem." But, you know what? I would rather have the cost-of-living problem any day.


In essence, I "traded-up."


Where it gets tricky is acknowledging that choice A won't eradicate all my problems, but may actually create BETTER problems. And, hey, that's pretty O.K. by me.


As a therapist in Honolulu, I'm often confronted by clients who believe that making a certain choice will get rid of all their problems. After all, aren't we all tempted to believe that all our problems would go away "If I had more money" or "If I had a better partner?" Sure we are--problem is, it just leads to disappointment when we discover this isn't true.


In this new year, I encourage you to not try to eradicate your problems, but, rather, "trade-up." If you do, you may just find they're easier to solve or, at the very least, accept.



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