A Challenge Shared

The saying goes that “a problem shared is a problem halved“.

In my experience there is even more positive light to be shed on the sentiment behind this expression. I therefore like to add the following that; “a challenge shared is a challenge simplified“. In fact, involving our friends and families when we are facing tough challenges often adds many benefits both in terms of finding good solutions but also in finding clever ways to achieve these solutions.

Not only do those close to us like to be asked for help and support, but often they will be facing some or all of the challenges we face ourselves.

Involve your whole family or a group of friends and see how quickly you find common ground. Notice also how something you feel is a challenge for you is also a challenge for someone else, but possibly from a different perspective. The potential of sharing difficult subjects with others is the potential to generate powerful solution from utilising more brains and seeing other, perhaps simpler, perspectives on the same problem.

In fact, what often feels like a growing problem with no easy solution when you deal with it on your own, can appear much more solvable, when you share it with a good friend or family member.  This literally means that, if you are clever and mature enough to share your problem with those you trust, you can count on not only their experience, but also on their interest in wanting to help you and in contributing to finding solutions. Why re-invent the wheel, if you can instead tap into alternative solutions that have been tried and tested by others, or that others are willing to share with you?

This approach is the basis for a lot of the discussions we have in my courses, where we all share experiences and a willingness to find solutions that work in practice.

But, lets not be too idealistic about this, which can tend to happen if we only consider sharing problems with our ‘best friends’ that will always see the world the way we do……..:

At a very practical level – sharing nutritional problems within a family, can also mean opening a can of worms….. Not literally, I hasten to add. I do not promote worms as part of a healthy eating programme – not yet at least.

What I mean is that problems related to healthy eating, within a family, bring up a whole host of both food and non-food related issues. This could mean anything from the classic temper tantrums that children throw when they don’t get the sweets or treats they want, to a partner, husband or wife, getting angry when asked to ‘show a good example’ in front of the children and eat his or her vegetables.

Other highly sensitive issues must also be considered in the process. If one family member has a weight management or eating challenge, it is often helpful that the whole family is involved in sculpting the solution and playing their part. But at the same time, great care must be taken to not make the individual concerned feel inferior or ‘guilty’ for not managing their weight or food addictions.

Here a challenge shared  generally needs to be shared at a different level and with a bit of help in laying down some ground rules, before the sharing begins.

Firstly – parents need to be on the same page and agree the principles of what they are trying to achieve, before they start trying to make changes to eating habits in the family. As with any parenting challenge, it is not going to work, if the parents cannot agree on the goal or on the rules and tactics to score the goals they want to score.

In other words, parents first need to define the goal. This could be as simple as getting children to eat more vegetables, so they at least get the vitamins and minerals they need as a starting point for the healthy development of their bodies and brains. Or, it could be helping their children to develop new tastes and habits so they stop eating sugary sweets and snacks. Or, at a more challenging and highly crucial level, helping their children with serious overweight or prediabetic or diabetes type 2 challenges.

Such goals in themselves are perhaps not too difficult for parents to agree on. But, the way in which this is to be done, ie the rules and tactics for the goal scoring, can be far more difficult, Simply put, this is the difference between theory and practice. When push comes to shove, and everyone is a bit stressed and tired after a long day at work and school, the easiest solution is to avoid conflict and postpone the new rules till another day. The problem is…….when will ‘another day’ arrive……

This is where it can be useful to get outside help, either from friends and family who have gone through similar challenges, or from professionals, including of course both medical professionals, psychologist and nutritionists, that can help to find the neutral and common ground that can support those involved to achieve a workable plan that can achieve the goal. For ideas, see also this link to what I can offer.

If you want to discuss any of the above or would like to explore your thoughts on a specific challenge you are facing, please contact me for information, or to book a free of charge appointment, for either a face-to-face meeting or a phone call.