I was showing Oliver how to pee this evening just before dinner (this falls into the class of “things you never imagined you would be teaching someone before you had kids”) and I had a thought: one of the most powerful pieces of information you can have when you’re struggling with a problem is the information that someone else has or is going through the same thing.
Whether it’s peeing, or relationships, or illness, or sex, or work problems, the simple act of knowing that you’re not carving new territory, that others have “been there,” is sometimes enough to remove the stress from a struggle.
This is why the meme that Rob Paterson is trying to spread through health care, that self-help groups trump traditional medicine, is so powerful.
It’s also why those parts of our lives that we’re afraid to talk about or demonstrate in public — peeing, relationships, illness, sex, work — are often the most stressful parts of our lives. If we were less uptight about these things, more willing to talk about our struggles in these areas with friends and family, I’m willing to hazard a guess that much of the stress would melt away and, in the ensuing flood of information and tip sharing, the problems themselves wouldn’t be too far behind.