When people are asked to identify their goals and what they want in life, most people say they want to be “happy”. A “happy” life is then defined by a feeling of contentment and satisfaction with oneself, one’s family, relationships with others, one’s job, one’s home, etc. In some respects, we all continually strive to be happy in one way or another for the duration of our lives, but we seem to feel we want more from the relationships we have. So, what causes us to feel unsatisfied? How do we re-evaluate the way our relationships work to find happiness?
The Importance of Good Attachments
Janus Counseling Center believes when an individual has experienced a break of attachment with primary caregivers, he seeks what is missing in his other relationships as an attempt to fill the gap. But looking for fulfillment in others doesn’t fill the space of sadness and disappointment, or end the longing for primary attachment. In fact, the compelling need to re-attach with early relationships often leads well-adjusted individuals to make poor decisions in choosing life partners and friendships, or in managing difficult emotions.
As humans, it is impossible for a person to be strong in all areas of life all the time. We were born into relationships and we need others to get through this life. The healthiest, most secure people have the capability of navigating the complex relational world, while reaching out for help from time to time. These are the people that strike a healthy emotional balance between independence and dependence.
Seeking Professional Help
By seeking professional assistance from a skilled therapist, a person can begin to re-find her personal path to happiness, along with modelling healthy coping strategies for her children. It’s true that some of us worry that going to therapy will make us appear weak or needy. We, at Janus Counseling Center, collectively ask the question, “If your kids were to reach out for help when they are having a rough time, would you consider their request “weak” or “needy”? We know that most people would say, “Certainly not”. Seeking professional help is a courageous, compassionate, and smart decision. Seeking help takes self-awareness, work, and commitment. It means confronting challenges and working to overcome them — whether it is in seeking help because of mental illness or feeling stuck.
Can you imagine how strong individuals, couples, families, businesses, and our nation would be if people felt free to ask for help when they need it? We imagine it too, and think it is possible!
Copyright Jennifer Vogel, BA, LMFT Trainee, (March 4, 2017)