I recently read something online (sorry, I can’t remember the source). It involved two people discussing relationships and one said something along the lines of “don’t bother arguing, just say ‘you’re right'”. The other person was unconvinced and protested that stating an opinion and arguing until the other person accepted, or at least acknowledged it, was the right approach. The first person carried on walking and simply said “you’re right”. It still makes me laugh.
The only person who can really know that what you’re doing isn’t working is you. You’re the one who has to try and get yourself to sleep at night. No one else can do that for you. All those things that keep churning over in your mind may be hard to silence. The missed opportunities, the regrets, the sadnesses, the grief, the what ifs. In times of loss the noise we create inside our heads can become very loud. At some point it might become unbearable and you might need some help because what you are doing isn’t working. Or maybe it’s what you’re not doing that is not helping.
There are a lot of motivational speakers and quotes around at this time of year. Actually they’re around all year but they seem to take on a life of their own around Christmas. I have no wish to diminish those who find it inspiring to preach about our need to feel grateful. I just want to reach out to those who don’t feel grateful at all, those who feel like they’ve been dealt a tough hand in life. It can feel very lonely to be told to feel grateful if you don’t feel like you have much to be grateful about. It can make you feel a lot worse, now you have to contend with the idea that you’re a bad person for not feeling grateful too.
Sometimes it feels that life is going really well. You feel fairly good about yourself. You have stopped beating yourself up about the things that you don’t get right and you might have started accepting yourself. Liking yourself even. Maybe your relationships are going quite well and even work doesn’t feel too bad. You seem to be able to do the things you want to and feel like you have some control over your life. And then one day you wake up and things feel so different. You notice tears rolling down your face. It’s hard to get up. You want the world to leave you alone. Out of nowhere. The sun doesn’t seem to shine so brightly. You look around and wonder what it’s all about. Worse still the people around you might be very unsympathetic. Not this again.
by Counsellor, Leamington Spa, Staffordshire
Shyness, low confidence, low self-esteem
When we are growing up and finding out who we are and our place in the world we can find ourselves being labelled by others. People might tell us we are shy or tell us to speak up. We can be left with the feeling that we are inadequate. We might watch how others and see how confident they are and wish we were like them.
Clients often ask me if they have been born shy. I can’t answer this. Some of how we turn out is down to our genes and some of it is down to what we have learnt , usually growing up. The millions of messages we receive during our childhood from the people around us leave an imprint on us. There are many interesting books about introverts and extroverts and if this is an area of interest then Dorothy Rowe writes in an accessible way.
While some people don’t mind about being shy, for others feeling shy or lacking in confidence is no fun. We can have a sense that our life is passing us by and that we are holding ourselves back in some way. The good news is that we are continually finding out who we are. It is possible to make changes to live in a more fulfilling way. The present does not have to be like the past.
So how is change possible? It might involve taking a risk and experimenting with new behaviour, for example contributing to a conversation or inviting some friends over. It might involve a change in thinking, for example to let go of believing that you have nothing decent to say or that you are boring. It might involve a change in the way you feel, deciding that you as good as everyone else. There are lots of self-help books out there to help with feeling shy. Counselling can also help to work with problems associated with shyness and low confidence. The problem is that this involves making the first step and contacting a Counsellor, not easy for someone feeling shy. Don’t worry, your Counsellor will understand this and if you feel they don’t, then please find someone who does.
This time of year can be stressful and full of expectations. This is especially true in the current economic climate. For those who have lost their jobs or are finding it hard to make ends meet it can be challenging to feel happy.
For some people, especially those who have recently lost someone they love and care about, this can be a very sad time of year. Full of memories.
What about all the lonely people? The people who have no family. We can get so wrapped up in our own lives that we might not even notice.
Then there are the people who do have a family. And that is the problem. Maybe you are unhappily married or feel that you are getting things wrong with your children. Maybe you have problems with parents or siblings. Do you feel like a child again when you return to your parent’s home?
I would like to wish you a very happy Christmas and I hope that you find some joy and peace in 2011. I know that Christmas can be a lonely time for many people. Even for those surrounded by people. Sometimes we can think that everyone else is having a great time and we are different. If you would like to make some changes in your life or talk through anything which is troubling you, then please get in touch.