There are many reasons why people seek counseling. One of the most common is that they are unhappy in their lives. They know something doesn’t feel right, and they long for a time, place, and feeling of something better. They can’t really describe this place but they know they want it.
These clients I’m describing are all successful. They’ve built something with their lives; careers, relationships, families. They are rooted in what they do and their responsibilities. They may be proud of their accomplishments too. Yet sometimes they say they feel like a fraud because of a hollow place inside.
I know, having changed careers to become a therapist, I’ve gone through my own challenges trying to find that better, more peaceful place that many of my clients seek. I know it’s hard to look underneath everything you have constructed and you know to be true and have lived for the last 20, 30, or 40 years.
But unhappiness is a terrific motivator. When people are unhappy in their lives they will do what they do best, look for a way out of the unhappiness. Often this search leads to counseling and that path leads to understanding the self.
What does the person want out of life? What makes the person happy? What would the person like to change? These are simple questions. Yet the answers are sometimes very hard to know, because most people are too busy with their lives to really look.
So look now at your life. Are you in a place that feels right? Are you content? Notice I’m not asking if you are happy. I know that this feeling is fleeting. It’s great to be happy. Finding what makes you happy is what I am interested in and that journey takes practice. It starts with you saying yes to you.
If you live in a place where you say to yourself “I should” before everything you do, I’ll bet you feel tired and overworked. If your way of being consists of saying “no” a lot it’s possible you experience anxiety and stress. In both these cases “self care” is probably on the back burner. Self care; I talk about this a lot. You may be saying to yourself “I don’t have time to be selfish.”
Sometimes we don’t know how to honor ourselves with self care. We may be experts at helping others, and we may be accustomed to putting our needs last. By the time we get around to taking care of ourselves we are exhausted, and we might even get mad.
I like to help people learn to attend to their needs, wants and desires. That doesn’t mean you have to ignore everything you already do in your life. It just means you make you a priority to you. You learn how to take care of yourself in a way that feels good to you. This is where you grow, like developing a new muscle. And you know that unhappiness I talked about earlier? When people find a way to take care of themselves they feel less unhappiness.
Feeling content, grounded and peaceful, I haven’t met a person yet who doesn’t long for it.
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