There’s an assumption out there that if you haven’t found the answer yet, you aren’t looking hard enough.  If you haven’t resolved the problem you’re not working hard enough.  This could be true and I’ve run across people who are in that boat, but, like most things, this assumption is not one-size-fits-all and shouldn’t be applied to people as if it is.   Sometimes the problem is not a lack of effort, but effort being expended in a way that’s not helpful.

I see this most often with people who tell me “I’ve heard all this before.”  They will usually rattle off all the times they’ve been told this, all the things they’ve done to resolve it and you can hear that they are checking out.  They’ve repeated all this so much it’s not real experience, it’s become a story, a recording that they play while their mind wanders elsewhere.  When the story is done they prepare to hear that they haven’t done enough, haven’t learned enough, are missing something and need to go searching for it.  It’s like they are living the grail myth where they must journey forever in search of the mystical item which will solve all their problems and allow them to finally rest.

Again, this could be true, but in many cases the issue is not that they are missing something, it’s that they are ignoring something.  All that stuff that they have heard before, they need to stop hearing it and start doing it.  All the knowing and understanding and intellectualizing in the world means nothing without application of some kind.  At some point action needs to be taken.  In order to resolve the issue the person has to make a change, take a chance, start acting differently and find out what life is like when they do.  And that’s the rub.  The problem and the solution, the act of hearing about it, being chastised, being encouraged, being stuck, all have become a comfortable part of the person’s life.  It’s part of their identity now.  Hearing that there is a way out doesn’t help because they already know in-depth, probably better than the person telling them.  The issue isn’t awareness or knowledge, it’s choice.  And when they make the choice to do something differently, they’ll stop hearing the same old thing.