If you've been plagued by a problem in your life, especially if you've had that problem for a long time, you might assume that you'd be eager to get rid of it. You would think so, but actually, when you get right down to it, the contrary is often more true.

People get used to having their problem, even though it is uncomfortable and they’d like to get rid of it. You see, they may KNOW how to be depressed, or poor, or sick. Feeling those feelings, although uncomfortable, are familiar.

Contemplating something else is a bit scary. It may be hard to even imagine what life would be like without the problem that has been with them for so long. Contemplating and taking action to do or be something else is even scarier still.

In fact, sometimes the problem becomes your identity. The way you talk about being depressed may sound as if it is your career. When you talk about "my depression" it may sound as if it is your best friend. It is easy to slip into this habit, and to think that the problem is part of your life forever.

The belief that you can't change may be so strong that it blocks all attempts let go of that problem. Before any useful work can be done to change the situation, you first need to understand what that problem "means" to you.

There is often a series of questions I ask when I'm beginning to work with someone who has had a long-lasting problem or one they report has stubbornly resisted all their efforts at letting it go.

1. What will happen if you let it go?
Imagine and consider all the possibilities, both good and bad.

2. What will happen if you don't let it go?
Again, imagine and consider all the possibilities—good and bad.

3. What won't happen if you let it go?
What will you miss?

4. What won't happen if you don't let it go?
Does having this problem "protect" you in some way?

These questions help you identify the positives and negatives you associate with having the problem and getting rid of it. Sometimes there are clues about why it is hanging on. There may be a belief that you'll lose something important by getting rid of the problem.

Ultimately you need to believe that your life will be better without the problem than with it. Once you believe that and are really ready to take that leap of faith to let it go, you CAN change it.

But until you are willing to risk being somewhat uncomfortable, and to let go of the problem you know so well in order to discover the life you want to have, you won't be ready.

It's actually a lot like a swinging on a trapeze. You have to be ready to let go of the swing you are one, to get where you want to go. When you are ready, there are a lot of methods out there to help you. Let it go…

Author's Bio: 

Linda Pucci, Ph.D. is a psychologist, life coach, trainer and owner of Inner Resource Center, LLC. She has 30 years of experience helping people overcome obstacles, change their lives, and reach goals they had not thought possible using her solution focused approach. She specializes in helping people get unstuck from negative emotions and limiting beliefs that sabotage their happiness. Get additional free tips and challenges for getting unstuck from her Inner Resources report at http://www.InnerResourceCenter.com or contact her for a free 20 minute consultation.