Getting To The Real Problem

Getting To The Real Problem -  Steve Wickham

When someone comes to us and has a problem we need to be prepared with an open mind to listen, and even listen openly enough to expect that what they bring us (as their issue) may not actually be 'the' issue -- it might be a cover for the real problem. It's only with a questioning mind-set that we might find out the real problem.
We're funny creatures aren't we? The problems we raise in our relationships with other people -- and how we raise them -- is what I'm getting at. People so often confuse issues. When people raise problems with other people the issue they raise is often a "symptom" of an underlying "cause" and not the real issue. We need courage, planning, and love to deal effectively with this problem.
Sometimes, the people most important to us will raise issues that bother them, and they'll do it without really thinking "what" the real problem is -- they just present as unhappy. This seems bizarre but it happens all the time. It is our human nature to protect the 'real us' inside; by not having to confront someone else with something potentially hurtful (but truthful), we protect ourselves from potential counter confrontation. We're scared that the other person will be hurt and they will then want to retaliate, or worse the relationship is damaged irreparably. Not a good outcome.
We may find the real issue is too difficult to broach and we then tip-toe over or around it -- and we can't just go 'through' it. It's a sensitive area for us, or for them, or both parties. It creates complexities in our relationship that we wished weren't there.
This is where courage is required to cut to the truth. But we need to act in a loving way or we risk hurting the other person. It takes thought and planning. This is where 'boundary conversations' come into their own. I love boundary conversations because they push our relationship communications into the realm of truth and healing. They encourage us to relate with reality and not simply pretend that everything's rosy when that could be the farthest thing from the truth.
In sum, we need to learn to dig deeper, and "pinpoint" the actual problem; this can often occur best with appropriate questioning to lead the other person to identify the issue for themselves. Targeted coaching-type questions need to be consistently open and respectful and exhibit the care and protection of love. At the right time, a short, clear and concise statement of fact can be made to create an insightful moment of truth -- and impetus for change. Healing is affected in that both parties feel the relief that the truth has been identified and entered into. It breathes life to the relationship.
Copyright © 2008, Steven John Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.A great resource for planning all sorts of boundary conversations is from Dr's. Henry Cloud and John Townsend. It's called Boundaries Face to Face - How to have that difficult conversation you've been avoiding, (Sydney/Grand Rapids, Michigan: Strand/Zondervan, 2003). Steve Wickham is a safety and health professional (BSc) and a qualified lay Christian minister (GradDipDiv). His passion in vocation is facilitation and coaching; encouraging people to soar to a higher value of their potential. Steve's key passion is work / life balance and re-creating value for living, and an exploration of the person within us. Article Source: article Source:

Find us on Facebook: