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Confused? 6 Ideas to Help

Image of black poodle behind wheel of car. Raleigh Psychotherapy, counseling, puzzled, Katherine Broadway

I recently read a story about a young man whose summer job in 1960 was as a substitute driver for an ice cream truck. On his first day, after serving the many children gathered around his truck, he found a large dog in the driver’s seat. His attempts to remove the dog were fruitless, so he came up with a plan to coax the dog out of the truck. He offered the dog an ice cream cone. The plan worked - apparently, the dog loved ice cream. Everyone was happy with the solution.

The next day, to his dismay, the same thing happened: the dog jumped into the driver’s seat. Once again, the young man tempted the dog away with ice cream, and once again, the dog accepted. Even so, the driver was puzzled by the events

On his third day when he arrived, there was an adult in the crowd with the “seat-stealing dog” beside him. When he got out of the truck, the man said, “I thought something was something wrong. You are not the regular driver. You see, there is a quarter taped under his collar for the ice cream.” Reminisce magazine, July 16, 2016, pg. 40-41.

This delightful little story can teach us six important lessons about life, the things that puzzle us, and the solutions we need.

1. Things are not always what they seem:

The blackmailing dog was actually a paying customer. When you first encounter a confusing situation, don’t believe the first explanation you create. There are many ways to interpret and understand an event, interaction, or situation. Most of the

time we need more information about what is happening.

It is possible that the person with whom you are interacting means to hurt and harm you, but unless you are in immediate danger, take time to look for the most positive explanation available. Find out more about the person with whom you are

dealing. Are they having a bad day? Are they unaware of the impact of their actions on you and others? Presume innocence until proven guilty. It will take less emotional energy.

3. Look for alternative explanations and solutions:

As you slow down to investigate what is going on, look outside of the box. Think of new possibilities, and look in new directions for answers you may not have considered before. We tend to explain what is happening to us through the lens of the past. Everyone is different and has different experiences, so the meaning they give to what is happening will be different from yours, and will make sense to them. It can make sense to you as well, even if you don’t agree with the conclusions, if you take time to understand their positions.

4. Look in unexpected places:

Just as the payment for the ice cream was hidden from view, it is amazing how hidden things can be. Ideas, possibilities and information can be hidden behind old ideas and experiences. The person with the needed information may not have appeared. Finding the hidden information may be the key to finding the solution.

5. It takes time for solutions to appear:

The man with the answers to the mysterious dog took three days to appear. To the young man in our story, that may have seemed like a long time, but it was not. I had a friend who had Hepatitis C. She went through treatment that made her so deathly ill that she had to stop. I was afraid she was going to die. She continued to

live with the limits of her illness, accepting the fact that there was no cure for her. Five years later, she is virus free. Science found a solution to her problem, but it took time.

Time and work will pay off. We may not get the solution we desire, but where there is life and hope, there is possibility. Continue to work toward improving the quality of your life. It will pay off.

Are you having trouble holding onto hope as you move toward solutions in your life? I specialize in hopeless cases. Call me at (919) 881-2001

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