How often do we find ourselves moaning about someone we love or have to work closely with and saying "they have such a problem" / "why can't they see they have a problem"? And sometimes we even try to point out their problem, thinking that we're being helpful. But who's problem is it really? Well, let us look at the word "problem". The definition is any question or incident involving doubt, uncertainty or difficulty. So who has the doubt, uncertainty or difficulty? Answer: the person complaining. So, if my friend, partner or boss is annoying me with their behaviour, then however unreasonable we can persuade ourselves that they are being, we are actually the ones having the problem with them. They might be totally unaware of any of this and, in fact, may be quite happily going through their lives without any problem at all. So the next question to ask is: why we have a problem with their behaviour? Have they gone back on an agreed set of behaviours? In which case, we would probably be advised to have a chat and remind them of the previous agreement. Have we expected them to act in a certain way without any discussion or agreement? This is often the case. We assume other people will behave in the way we would want them to, but they rarely do so 100% of the time. Recognising that you've made an assumption is the first step. Then honest communication in a non-confrontational way. Instead of saying "you're annoying when you do this", try "I feel annoyed when you do that". By owning your feelings, you make it easier for the other person to hear without becoming defensive. It's also important to acknowledge that your own feelings are valid. It may be that you have differing values and you don't understand each other's problems. This can be challenging, but not insurmountable, as long as you go into a discussion with a willingness to understand and an open heart. This can go a long way to helping us resolve our problems. There'll be more in my next post.