It’s Raining Moss (Four areas of your life where solving symptoms instead of problems can take a real toll)

“We live in a time when the words impossible and unsolvable are not longer part of the scientific community’s vocabulary. Each day we move closer to trials that will not just minimize the symptoms of disease and injury but eliminate them.”

Christopher Reeve

After every storm we know without fail, that we will need to go through our yard and pick up the moss and sticks that blew down. On seven and a half acres, this can end up being quite a bit of moss as you can see in the picture below.

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No matter how clean we make the yard, if there is another storm the next day, we have to start all over. You would think that eventually there would be no moss left. But after one look at the trees in our yard, you realize that we would be nuts to expect any other outcome. Of course more moss is going to fall!

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Common sense would dictate that if I really wanted to not have to pick up moss on the ground after a storm, I would need to somehow get it cleaned out of the trees. That is not an easy process but it can be done. Even though it is expensive and time-consuming, I think that everyone would agree that it is the required strategy, if I want to be rid of the moss in my yard once and for all. That is the only way I can solve the problem instead of just treating the symptom.

Are you a problem solver or a symptom solver…or a little of both? Below are four areas of your life where solving symptoms instead of problems can take a real toll.

 Are you in a relationship that continues to hurt all the time?

Almost all of us have had our heart-broken a time or two. If not for that there would be no money in writing songs. Love for someone else and being loved in return is the natural place most of us seek to be. Once you find your true love, you can begin to build a life together. Because people are different, it is also natural to have disagreements along the way. That is normal. However, it is not normal, nor should it be tolerated, to constantly feel hurt and pain in your relationship. In a healthy relationship, your companion shows their love for you constantly despite your daily disagreements. You know you are loved and the amount of pain you feel pales in comparison to the love you feel.

You may try to change yourself to make your partner “like you more”. Most of these “changes” are just treating symptoms and not addressing the deeper problems. If you are not feeling the love you are most likely not treating the problem. Love in a relationship is based on trust and forgiveness. It is based on respect and awe. It is based on caring and concern. It is based on the ability for you to love yourself and be proud of the contribution that you are making to the relationship and to society. You should not feel constant pain and misery. Stop flailing trying to solve symptoms and consider getting some professional help for the both of you. Life is too short to not feel the support and love from your partner despite the everyday differences that will occur.

Are you in a job or line of work that does not bring you joy?

Most of your adult life will be spent going to work. Sometimes you hear your friends say they love their work and others say they can’t wait to move on. How do you feel about what you do? If you are content then congratulations is due. If you are not but instead find yourself complaining and griping often, what are you doing about it?

Many will fight around the edges of the problem. Their solutions may include asking for a raise. Others may find security in the job and, though unhappy, they are too afraid to give up what they have. Others may complain to other employees or their bosses to try to affect changes in their workplace. There is nothing wrong with trying to improve your present working conditions. However, are you in the line of work that gives you joy?

Should you consider going back to school or learning a new language? Should you start networking more or stand before an intimidating creditor seeking funds to start a new business? Should you believe in yourself more when no one else gives a hoot. Since you will most likely spend a massive amount of your time left on earth in your profession, shouldn’t you take this problem solving seriously instead of dancing around with the symptoms?

Are you overweight or otherwise living an unhealthy lifestyle?

Maybe it does not seem fair to go here as it makes most of us uncomfortable to discuss our little love handles. However, many of us spend our adult lives going from one diet to another or starting a new exercise plan…all in an effort to feel and look our best. We have plans for this and programs for that. We have pills and supplements and books and lifts and procedures and tints and spas and….need I go on?

Living a healthy lifestyle requires few if any programs if we are a problem solver. It doesn’t even require discipline. It requires and active lifestyle where food is a bothersome stop in your journey instead of a destination you plug in to your body’s GPS system with a scheduled stop every four hours. Your body needs energy to accomplish what you want to do so your mind forces you to replenish your nutrients in order for you to continue moving mountains. Food becomes a silent partner instead of a pleading lover.

I know this zone exists because I have seen people who live there. How do you get to this place? I am not sure but one component I know is that to get there, you need to get busy with your life..get active…replace the love of food with the love of what you are accomplishing. I do not know the rest of the way but I hope to one day.

 Are you living beyond your means?

When you balance your checkbook are you happy with what you see? One key indicator of a symptom solver is that they live beyond their means. For some reason, they can’t see what everyone else sees…that you can’t afford to make “that” purchase. Their main enabler is their credit card and they solve the symptoms by making the minimum payments required each month.

Eventually this style of living is unsustainable and will lead to other problems. It affects relationships and health. It forces a person to go to their employer to ask for a raise, not because they deserve it, but because they have no other way to get out of debt.

A problem solver would see the overall situation and know not to put unnecessary strain on the family. The problem solver would have already moved on and not wasted another minute considering the purchase because the future is not hard to predict when you live beyond your means.

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Are there any constant negatives that seem to keep happening around you? Are there things that keep occurring that seem to always bring you down and cause you heartache and grief? If there are, you may find that you are a symptom solver instead of a problem solver.

Take a look around you and see if there is any moss in the trees above you. If there is, can you remove it? You may have to make some tough choices that really get to the heart of the problems around you…some moss laden limbs may have to be cut off…some hard to reach moss patches may have to be sprayed by a professional. Solving a problem requires more thoughts and courage than solving a symptom. It may require more time and money. It may require more faith, guts and discipline.

Ultimately however, when you solve a problem it is gone. Your life has less baggage and issues. Your will find that your joy will be more full and that your sense of accomplishment more complete. Don’t get mad at the moss that needs to be picked up every day. Figure it out. Go to the source. Solve the problem.

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