My spouse and I have an ongoing argument. We have been fighting about this for about as long as we have been married. Believe me, it’s been a long time.

Our disagreement is always about the temperature in the house. I’m always cold and he’s always warm. Now, the rule in the house is that once it’s become warm out and there is an urgent need to turn on the air, the heat is officially turned off for the season. That means if the air-conditioning is turned on on April 15 because it’s 80 degrees out, you are not to turn the heat on the next week when it plummets to 45.

In case you were wondering, I didn’t make this rule.

I try to weather (no pun intended) this as best as I can, but sometimes it’s just ridiculous. Last night was one of those nights. I came home and noticed that the house was quite cool. I complained and complained about it and of course, nothing happened. This morning, I woke up and immediately felt that the room was freezing. All the animals were smashed up against me trying to stay alive in the frigid temps. I went downstairs to eat breakfast, feeling the same frustration welling up inside of me, muttering to myself how tired I am of this whole situation.

I considered waking him up to have the same familiar fight and then it dawned on me. Why was I so miserable when there was an obvious solution? Why did I continue to complain when there was another, better, alternative? I walked over to the thermostat and turned the heat back on in the house.

It was that easy.

Have you ever noticed that some of the stuff that drives us crazy doesn’t really have to drive us crazy? There are obvious solutions to our problems, but we are so intent on our negative swirling that we forget we don’t have to be quite so unhappy. We play out the same pattern over and over and we lose sight of reality: the situation is really not that hard to resolve. We really have more control to change our lives than we think.

I know you are thinking that I was pretty silly to not see the obvious— that all I had to do was walk over to the thermostat and change the setting to heat. However, It never occurred to me. I will bet that something like this is playing out right now in your own personal or professional life. Maybe it involves a co-worker that is driving you crazy, a boss that makes you lose your patience or a friend that has overstayed their welcome. Whatever the situation, it’s possible that you have become so emotionally involved in “the fight” that you can no longer see the “forest for the trees”. There’s a chance that the pattern is set, and you might find some strange comfort with the negative interaction. You continue to stay where you are because you no longer can see the choices you have to make your life better.

So take a step back and try to get a birds-eye view of the situation. There’s a good chance that you can break out of the pattern and find a positive solution.

And in case you were wondering about my dilemma, he has yet to say anything to me.

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