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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Problems

 

On their 1996 album Legal Drug Money, hip hop group Lost Boyz featured the song “1, 2, 3” which has an evolving hook that eventually states, “1..2..3..thousand problems [x4] (Who got problems? The whole motherfuckin’ world got problems).”

 

The track helped me to keep life in perspective during a transitional period between high school graduation and Marine Corps enlistment. At that time, my familial relationships were damaged, I’d come from living in a children’s home upon graduating, and I experienced a significant episode of depression.

 

I’d gone from couch surfing at various locations, with one apartment complex having been shot up during a drive-by shooting, to living in a 497 square-foot efficiency apartment in an entirely different section of town. To say the least, I had problems.

 

Hearing the Lost Boyz track reminded me that everyone across the globe experienced unpleasant situations. Still, I wasn’t unaware of this fact, because the rap music I enjoyed kept me grounded in reality.

 

For instance, on their 1995 album Labcabincalifornia, hip hop group The Pharcyde stated on the classic track “Runnin’,” “There comes a time in every man’s life when he’s gotta handle shit up on his own. Can’t depend on friends to help you in a squeeze. Please, they got problems of their own.”

 

Before I knew how to work through problems using Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), it wasn’t an uncommon experience to upset myself with a woe is me attitude toward life. Back then, I thought in terms of an Action-Consequence (A-C) connection.

 

A problem would arise (Action) and I reasoned that my reaction to the situation would result in sorrow or despair (Consequence). When thinking in A-C connection terms, I erroneously concluded that I was a victim of circumstance.

 

At times, I thought I had one, two, three thousand problems that were unique to me. Turns out, I was wrong about the chain of events that led to unpleasant outcomes and about the exclusivity of my experience.

 

First, rather than an A-C connection, I didn’t understand the Belief-Consequence (B-C) connection. An Activating event would occur, I developed an irrational Belief about the situation, and as a result of my unhelpful assumption I’d experience an unpleasant Consequence.

 

Second, as referenced by The Pharcyde and Lost Boyz, everyone I’ve ever known, currently know, and will ever know has problems. Suffering is a universal inevitability.

 

Finally, given that I upset myself with a B-C connection, I also had the ability to reduce needless suffering though alteration of my unproductive assumptions about myself, others, and life in general. Because I’m capable of improving outcomes in this way, I reason that others are able to do so, as well.

 

After I learned about REBT during my graduate studies for counseling (’09-’11), hip hop group Beast Coast released their 2019 album Escape from New York. The song “Problemz” once again reminded me of universal suffering, as the chorus states:

 

Everybody got problems, it’s all about how you relate

My play will prosper, though, so I’m gon’ handle the weight

The world’s so toxic, hey; separate the real from the fake

Why wait for tomorrow though? ‘Stead, I’m goin’ start with today

 

…and the refrain states:

 

And that’s the way it goes, some problems can’t get solved [x4]

 

Quite often, people express to me mistaken sentiment I once maintained about the A-C connection and singular suffering. Person X may say that some desire went unfulfilled and because of this, life sucks. Moreover, person X may express that this is a unique experience.

 

Although it might be tempting to reply, “Who got problems? The whole motherfuckin’ world got problems,” “Can’t depend on friends to help you in a squeeze. Please, they got problems of their own,” or, “And that’s the way it goes, some problems can’t get solved,” I take a different approach.

 

In my personal and professional life, I use REBT to focus on the B-C connection, promote Stoicism, and engage in unconditional acceptance. This method has served me well in upsetting myself far less than I did earlier in life and I’ve witnessed other people change their lives through practice of REBT.

 

While I can’t take away the problems and suffering inherent in life, I may be able to help ease the burden. Is this something in which you may be interested?

 

If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life—helping you to sharpen your critical thinking skills, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.

 

As the world’s foremost old school hip hop REBT psychotherapist, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.

 

At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!

 

 

Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW

 

 

References:

 

Baltzly, D. (2018, April 10). Stoicism. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from https://plato.stanford.edu/Archives/fall2022/entries/stoicism/

Beast Coast Worldwide. (2019, March 23). Problemz - Beast Coast [Video]. YouTube. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/brWTuW_kHoc?si=ZH-kOV3FOT3C4xLU

Hollings, D. (2022, March 15). Disclaimer. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/disclaimer

Hollings, D. (2023, September 8). Fair use. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/fair-use

Hollings, D. (2023, October 12). Get better. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/get-better

Hollings, D. (n.d.). Hollings Therapy, LLC [Official website]. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/

Hollings, D. (2023, May 18). Irrational beliefs. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/irrational-beliefs

Hollings, D. (2023, September 19). Life coaching. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/life-coaching

Hollings, D. (2023, March 4). M-E-T-H-O-D, man. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/m-e-t-h-o-d-man

Hollings, D. (2023, March 20). Practice. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/practice

Hollings, D. (2022, March 25). Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT). Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/rational-emotive-behavior-therapy-rebt

Hollings, D. (2022, November 1). Self-disturbance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/self-disturbance

Hollings, D. (2022, December 23). The A-C connection. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/the-a-c-connection

Hollings, D. (2022, December 25). The B-C connection. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/the-b-c-connection

Hollings, D. (2022, July 11). Unconditional acceptance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/unconditional-acceptance

Hollings, D. (2022, November 25). Victimhood. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/victimhood

Lost Boyz. (2018, July 31). 1, 2, 3 [Video]. YouTube. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/d54OPIpAe2Y?si=WAUJJiltlXqYssM5

Pharcyde TV. (2017, November 3). The Pharcyde – Runnin’ (Official music video) [Video]. YouTube. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/jQ-RrGCSa2M?si=mHWTevUbGCRxPtTp

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Beast Coast. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beast_Coast

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Couch surfing. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Couch_surfing

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Escape from New York (Beast Coast album). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escape_from_New_York_(Beast_Coast_album)

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Labcabincalifornia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labcabincalifornia

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Legal Drug Money. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_Drug_Money

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Lost Boyz. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost_Boyz

Wikipedia. (n.d.). The Pharcyde. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Pharcyde

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