Thoughts

A name for an issue

Being able to give a name to a difficult experience or a problem can be incredibly powerful. It helps you make sense of the situation. It may still be hurtful and the solution may still be difficult or effortful. But naming the issue, without being judgmental about it, is the huge first step towards recovery or solution.

An example would be identifying that the cloud in your head that weighs you down all the time and wouldn’t let you feel anything close to happiness as depression. Once it has been named, you know that you aren’t doing anything wrong. You are suffering from a problem, and you can reach out for professional help to resolve it.

Similarly, realizing that a person you look up to is using your regard for them in a self-centered fashion causing harm to your emotional well-being or self-esteem, and hence they are a manipulative person and you are in an abusive relationship (this isn’t applicable only to romantic relationships), is the first step towards setting your guilts and regrets aside, knowing that you will not get closure, and moving on from it.

Naming your aversion to small talk and sales-y situations as introversion means that you don’t need to think of yourself as anti-social or inept as the society is likely to make you feel. The realization here is not even about a problem. It is just identifying you for who you are. Then you can choose to withdraw from situations where it is not respected, or educate people who care to be educated, or perhaps mold your behavior where you can without distressing yourself or being unfair on yourself.

Formal support groups are a way of telling you that your issue has a name.

Apart from these technical and psychological ways of naming, there can be more informal ways of doing so. For example, reading a book or seeing a movie where a character is experiencing something similar can be therapeutic, because that is also a way of naming the issue (assuming it isn’t a trigger!).

Naming the issue is not just a powerful way to address personal problems. Even in professional settings, or in handling business issues, this is very helpful. Being able to put the right framework on a business problem can help you arrive at a solution systematically, instead of haphazardly trying out the guesswork. Being able to accurately label an issue as a communication problem, or an employee morale problem, or a capability problem, or a process problem will help in fixing the right thing. If people are not being communicated the right thing, it doesn’t matter how high their morale is they will do the wrong thing (very enthusiastically too). If the capability is the problem, the best processes in the world are unlikely to fix it.

As human knowledge has accumulated, a lot of issues have received valid names. Whether mental health issues or business problems, many of them didn’t have names a hundred years ago. They do now. There may be problems even now which we don’t have a good name to identify with. I hope you don’t get stuck with them. But if you do, may you find a way to unfold it into things that do have a name or understanding, so that you can address them.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s