Yorkshire Times
Weekend Edition
Dr Mark Rackley
Psychologist and Mental Health Expert
12:00 AM 8th June 2024

Dealing With Your Issues: Deal Or No Deal?

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
As discussed in last week’s article, we all have issues, that just means we are human and make mistakes like everyone else. However, how we deal with our issues is a choice we make and not everybody makes a choice that helps them, or other people deal with their issues.

Some choose to tackle their issues head on, others prefer to avoid, deny or pretend that they are not there. Obviously how we choose to deal with our issues brings with it consequences and outcomes which either help or damage us. So, when it comes to our issues, we have a choice, deal or no deal.

How you personally manage the issues you have is in part down to the type of person that you are or choose to be. You can be either a reactive or reflective person when it comes to how you deal with your issues. Depending on which position you take, this can leave your issues being repeated or the opposite; being open to challenge and change. What difference does it make if you are either reactive or reflective and what does that even mean?

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Your adult brain stops developing around age 25 and after that it just matures. However, you don’t always utilise this power that the mature adult brain has. As an adult, you have a fully formed brain which can make sense of situations, draw upon previous learning and create new ways of thinking and behaving. You don’t always stay in an adult state of mind and can instead regress to an immature state of mind, behaving like a spoilt child or stroppy teenager.

Reactive people deal with themselves and their life in a certain way. They don’t stop to think, reflect and analyse a given situation and its consequences. Situations are dealt with head on, impulsively and reactionary. A reactive person does not look back or ask for guidance or stop and think about options and consequences. Advice is not welcomed or appreciated, and they don’t use people for support or help.

A reactive person can repeat the same mistakes again and again and not stop to think how this has happened again or how they could respond or act differently? They will not look at the trail of destruction that is behind them in life and wonder how that got there? They will not consider what issues might have caused the chaos in their life. Rather they stay reactive, repeating and perpetuating their issues, making their own life and others miserable.

For reactive people, life is one long battle that they fight on a regular basis as they don’t pick their battles. They actively choose to fight and don’t stop to think, have I fought this battle before? Did I win? Was it worth the fight? What were the consequences? They don’t always learn from their mistakes. They can find themselves repeating the same behaviour or approach a situation in the same manner as before and expect a different result; sadly, this is never the case. Reactive people get stuck in a loop with their issues, as their issues never get resolved and just keep spinning chaos in their life.

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay
Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay
In contrast, a reflective person interacts with their life and issues differently. Reflective people are open to analyse and consider the issues they might have, how they got there and what they can do about them. They reflect on their thoughts, feelings and behaviours and consider what might have occurred in any given situation. They look at the interacting parts at play, such as themselves, others and their history to help them make sense of the issues that they have.

Reflective people consider how they could have acted differently, maybe why they didn’t and how to be aware of their issues and what triggers them. Reflective people actively include others in this process and ask for their observations and support to help them manage their issues. They seek to grow as people and engage in activities that will facilitate the growth that they want.

They consider options, consequences and methods of positive change when dealing with an issue. A reflective person will be more likely to pick their battles, choosing which ones are worth fighting and which ones are best left alone. In doing so, they help themselves grow psychologically as they deal with situations differently and give themselves options of response with potential consequences. A reflective person will consider the result that they would like to achieve and how best to achieve that.

Depending on whether you are a reactive or a reflective person can make a big difference in identifying, managing and keeping your issues from doing harm to yourself or others. When it comes to working with your issues, being a reflective person is vital to deal with your issues in a healthy way that has lasting benefits. If you recognise that you are more a reactive than reflective person, remember your brain’s ability to change how it functions, and this too can change.

So think again, deal or no deal?

Dr Mark Radley
Dr Mark Radley
Listen to my podcast: I Have Issues, The Mental Health Podcast From Dr Mark Rackley (on all major podcast platforms)

For support with your mental health:
-Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service.
-Make an urgent appointment with your GP.
-Go to your nearest Accident and Emergency (A&E) department.
-Visit All areas have local mental health crisis lines where urgent help, possibly at home, can also be arranged.