As a counselor, I often work with those facets of a problem that are “below the surface” or less obvious than others, but this is not always the best first course of action. I firmly believe that the hard work of “digging” into problems and discovering their ultimate cause is always beneficial, but sometimes the first step of this digging process is to simply clear away some of the rubble.
When we struggle with anxiety or depression or grief or anger, we often find ourselves blinded by them. If I’m feeling terribly depressed, then I’m only going to see my depression when you ask me to examine where it is coming from. It’s like looking through a red-tinted window and expecting to see things as they truly are. I may believe that everything is truly red, but that doesn’t make it so.
Sometimes the first step is to put on a “band-aid.” If I can gain some tools to turn down the intensity of my anger, then I might be able to think more clearly the next time it comes around. This isn’t the solution to the anger, but it is almost always a necessary first step in order to find that solution.
So, the next time you find yourself struggling, ask what practical steps you might employ to “take the edge off.” It’s one small step that can lead to many more.