This Will Shrink Your Problems

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Do you have a problem or a perspective? When you ask yourself this one question, your problems start to dissolve like dark chocolate on your tongue. Tune in to shrink your problems (no hot water required). This is episode 48, and I’m rooting for your peace, joy, and creativity.

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Alyssa Patmos 0:04
This is Make It Mentionable.

I’m Alyssa Patmos and this is the show about being human in a world that encourages us to be robots.

I invite you to join me as we journey through the mess, the magic and the mania in between.

Because what we can talk about, we can manage.

This honest conversation extravaganza includes free flowing conversations and high doses of vulnerability to remind you that you aren’t alone.

No topic is off limits, and episodes are designed to leave you smarter, aka more self aware than when you came.

I am so glad you’re here.

An Exciting Announcement 💍 (And A Name Dilemma)

Alyssa Patmos 0:49
Hello, Hello. And welcome back to another episode of Make It Mentionable. I’m your host, Alyssa Patmos.

And I just have to pause for a second because it is so crazy to say my name right now.

Geoff and I got engaged this week. And so anytime I say my name, I’m like, ‘How long is this going to be my name for?’

And there are three options that could happen.

  1. I could keep my name. So my name might be my name for the rest of eternity.
  2. I could take his name, or fun plot twist:
  3. We might end up both switching our names.

And we have not decided yet. But every time I say my name right now I’m like, Oh, my goodness, it feels a little crazy, because it’s gonna be changing, most likely. So anyway, I’m Alyssa Patmos for now.

This Week’s Question: Do You Have A Problem, or Do You Have A Perspective?

This is episode 48 of the Make It Mentionable show and I want to ask you, do you have a problem? Or do you have a perspective?

So here’s what I mean by this.

We live in a world where a lot of people seem to think that life is just a series of problems that we have to overcome.

And I’m not convinced that’s the most helpful way to approach life. And I thought this for a long time.

But I’ve been reading a book this week where it has given words to some things that I’ve thought for years.

And so I want to share it with you. I’m reading a book called, what is it called, Dissolve the problem by Richard Dotts.

And what I love about it is so, so often, we are focused on like strategic problem-solving and finding solutions.

You Don’t Always Need A Solution To Your Problems 👀

And as someone with a very strategic brain, I resonate with that.

However, I also know that sometimes the best way to solve a problem is not actually to go looking for solutions.

Because they find over and over again, especially as someone who coaches people for a living, that we often talk ourselves into our problems, things that seem like mountains that we have to climb, aren’t all that big of a deal, except for the fact that we’ve talked ourselves into it.

And so now we think it is the size of Kilimanjaro.

Think Of Your Problems Like This (With Help From Albert Einstein)

Alyssa Patmos 3:18
So a really good way to think about this is like you’re a kid. And, and if you have a kid, this will be easy, even easier to picture.

But think back to when you were a kid and saw and and something happened at school, maybe a kid made fun of you. Maybe someone poked you, maybe maybe you you felt like you didn’t have have any friends.

And you go home, and you tell your parents about it.

And as a parent, we can look at that situation and be like, or as big sister, because I don’t have kids. However, I am an older sister, and I have been around many kids.

So when kids come to us with these sorts of things, it’s like we can instantly recognize ‘Oh, my goodness, I bet he pokes you because he liked you. Or I bet. You know, we can see that sometimes when kids make fun of other kids. It’s because they feel insecure themselves.

And so is it truly a problem? Or is it a perspective, and from that limited perspective?

My Brother The Bodybuilder, And What He Teaches Us About Problem-Solving

It can be hard as a kid to see what other dynamics are going on.

And so as a parent, it’s easy to explain to our kids and show them, like ‘I know this feels huge right now, I know that this feels like the most biggest, the biggest thing that could happen to you right now. But I promise you that it’s it’s not going to be that big of a deal. It’s not going to be that big of a deal a few weeks from now. And do you have enough faith to go back to school, and to try again? And, and trust that that it’s going to go away?’

And it will, it will fade, it will dissolve.

And from those situations, you know, we can, we can have assurances, because we’ve lived through moments like that, that it’s not going to be a problem, and that it’s going to go away.

And it’s just hard because in that moment with their, with their understanding of the world, it does seem like this huge thing.

But for us, as adults, we don’t afford ourselves the same opportunities, we don’t do the same things for ourselves, we don’t act like that parent figure that has more perspective, and can’t see that it’s not just this box that we’re painting the picture of, for this problem.

And as Albert Einstein says, you know, we can’t solve a problem from the same level of consciousness that created it.

And yet, so often, that’s what we try to do, when a problem comes up, we try to just like ram through it.

And that’s not always the most helpful thing that we can do, it’s not the best action for us to take.

You know, I think of, of another example that comes to mind is my my brother is effectively a bodybuilder, he’s huge.

And so if he stands in front of me, he stands right in front of me, it’s very difficult to see around him, he’s taller than me, so I can’t really see above him, can’t see below him and like looking around, I really have to move to to see around him.

And so many of us do this with our problems, we pit them squarely in front of us, like you are this thing, you were this enemy, and I have to solve it.

In relationships, we do this, when we turn our partner into the problem, instead of it being like, Oh, it’s you and me against this other problem, or you and me looking at this, this other thing that is getting in the way of closeness for us. It becomes ‘you are the problem’, and they’re standing right in front of you, and it can be hard to see anything else around them.

That’s not helpful. That is not a helpful way to address conflict.

It’s much better when we can say hey, okay, there, there’s an issue, or there’s a perspective here that I don’t think is helping our relationship, like, let’s examine it together.

And it becomes something that’s off over here to the side.

When we identify with our problems and put them straight in front of us, they become more rigid, they become more apparent, and getting them to go away, which seems to be the ultimate goal becomes much more difficult.

How To Dissolve Problems, Patterns, And Predicaments Like Dark Chocolate On Your Tongue (The Magic Of Perspective Pivots)

Alyssa Patmos 7:52
I used to have a line on my site, that was ‘where your problems patterns and predicaments dissolve, like dark chocolate on your tongue’.

And I think I’m gonna have to bring it back.

Because that is truly the way that many problems go away, they start to dissipate, or dissolve. If you think about dark chocolate, like you put it in there. And it’s hard and it’s rigid at first, but then as it’s there, and as you allow it, it just starts to melt under the conditions, and it’s no longer sustainable.

So what are those conditions? What are the conditions we create in our lives, we hear ourselves talk all the time, all day long?

And many times I find that people talk themselves into their problems. And I have absolutely been guilty of this as well.

But it’s like this thing appears. And we kind of have a skewed perspective around it. And so it feels like a problem and we start talking about it. We tell people about it. And all of a sudden, this problem is the size of Kilimanjaro because we’ve talked ourselves into it.

But what if we didn’t? What if we didn’t talk about the problem as much?

Or what if we acknowledged it and allowed it to be there, but then didn’t feel the need to perpetuate it by telling everyone we know or propping propping it up by all of this extra talk?

And that’s a lot of what Richard Dotts talks about in his book dissolve.

The problem is, how do we soften? How do we soften our approach to the problem? And I love that language.

Because if I think about my brother again, and if my brother metaphorically represents a problem, where it’s just this huge thing in front of us, we can’t see around it.

How do we soften it?

It would be much easier if we if it was malleable if we could like push them a little bit, and then oh, we can see a pathway there or air or if it shrinks, and then we can all of a sudden see above it.

But if it’s this rigid thing, and we’re talking about it and it’s just adding more muscle to it, then it has all the power. And we’ve given it that power by perpetually talking about it.

Now, because I’m a huge fan of nuance, I cannot just say here like, Oh, don’t talk about your problems, because no, that’s not what I’m saying at all.

There’s a lot of nuance to this.

And part of that nuance is we also don’t want to suppress our problems, because if we just bury it down, then we’re building up a pressure cooker internally. And that’s not helpful either.

But there is a difference between venting a problem and spewing it to everyone you pass by or everyone you know, versus Okay, acknowledging it, saying, okay, that that might be a problem that that is causing some inconvenience. That’s not what I want.

But letting that be it, and then immediately shifting our attention to what do we want instead?

Because it’s really, really easy to get caught in the land of focusing on what we don’t want.

And I’ve talked about this in many episodes, our power comes from focusing on what we do want.

And so if we’re only telling people about the problem, and we’re not talking about what we want, we’re not giving our energy to what we want, we’re perpetuating and giving energy to the things we don’t want.

So what are we paying attention to our energy goes, where our attention goes?

What Do You Want? >> The Question You Need To Ask When You’re At An Impasse

And where energy goes, That’s how momentum flows.

So what do we want to be building momentum around?

I want to be building momentum around the things I want, not the things that I don’t want.

And yet, so often, we talk ourselves into our problems, when really, a problem might just be the perspective that we have at the moment.

And if we let it be there, and then walked away, and came back later, we could have an entirely different perspective.

So my question for you this week is, do you have a problem? Or do you have a perspective?

And what would it take for that perspective to change?

This is why I love the art of the pivot.

Because when we pivot our perspectives, we can totally transform our lives. One small shift at a time. If you pivot from, even if you pivot, even from viewing your partner as the problem in conflict to like, Okay, wait, I remember that, that we’re, we we both want to get needs met here. So, So let’s look at what’s happening.

Arguing With Your Friend Or Partner? Try This Communication Pivot To Instantly Dissolve Those Feelings Of Defensiveness

Alyssa Patmos 12:50
As this third, this third thing, it’s not you, you can pivot from remembering it’s not your partner, and inviting them in to look at something with you, whatever, whatever the root of the issue is, that’s going to dramatically change how the conversation unfolds, because they’re not going to be as defensive anymore.

They don’t have to change a single thing about them, you’re inviting them into a completely different conversation by pivoting your perspective of what is happening.

And that is immensely powerful.

You’re reclaiming your power, because you don’t actually need someone else to change for something different to happen.

You’re reclaiming the conditions and creating the conditions for what you want to have happen.

When we’re constantly building up and talking ourselves into a problem, we’re not creating the conditions that allow for the problem to dissolve, that allow for it to go away. We’re just building it up.

So again, it’s not about denying it or suppressing it, because that just stores it internally.

And that causes stress on our bodies.

But it’s also not about talking ourselves into it and allowing ourselves to hear that we have this massive problem all the time.

What we tell ourselves matters because we hear ourselves talking all the time.

So do you have a problem? Or do you have a perspective? If you want to continue this conversation, head on over to, this is episode 48. And if you want more in between episodes, head on over to and sign up for my weekly newsletter. Absolutely named The Peel with perspective so fresh, you might just change your life. Thank you so much for tuning in and I will catch you next week.

Want More In-Between Episodes? Sign Up For The Peel, My Newsletter With Perspectives So Fresh You Might Just Change Your Life 🍊🍌🧅

Alyssa Patmos 14:44
You’ve just finished listening to another episode of Make It Mentionable with me your host Alyssa Patmos.

If you’re looking for more in between episodes, then sign up for The Peel.

It’s my free newsletter that gives tips for how to navigate whatever life dishes and it’s also the place where I share the juiciest of stories. So check it out.

Head on over to Thank you so much for tuning in. And I’ll see you next time

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