Are you your Real Self? Too often I find people investing time and energy into their front and ignoring their real self. in the space between are emotional pains – Panic, Fear, sadness, anxiety, depression, anger, relationship conflicts, trauma etc. People knew where they want to go but don’t have the map or tools.
What I often find is that the people I work with engage in the world without portraying their “real self”. The therapeutic journey is about facilitating the person to find and take the risk of expressing their “real self”. Too often this is suppressed by feelings of fear, low self worth, inadequacy, shame, etc.
So when do you deny your “real self”?
- Do you feel fearful and anxious have panic attacks but hide them to show that you are great at cope and getting on at things?
- Do you feel sad, tired and lonely and visit your GP for lost of physical ailments and don’t tell them how you are feeling because you are afraid of what your GP or even family might think and say?
- Have you legitimate things to say and suppress them for example the adult daughter who is the over-burdened caring for an elderly relative while other brothers and sisters do not take responsibility.
- Or the mum or dad who finds it easier not to tackle the outrageous demands of their teenager. Or you are in a work or home situation and being bullied?
If you too often “keep the peace”, you are denying your “real self”. The outcome of this is continual unhappiness. The challenge is to find your voice and your Real Self.
Unresolved stress needs to addressed otherwise it transforms into depression or anxiety. Depression extinguishes light and hope while anxiety stifles freedom and acts like a straight-jacket. In psychology we know that depression is kept going by negative thoughts towards the past, present and future, while anxiety is kept going by fear based thoughts and avoidant behaviour.
Imagine a place where you feel joyful, hopeful where you feel and act courageous – little step by little step. Here are some things to try.
Tackle Your ANTS – Automatic Negative Thoughts. If thoughts keep your problem going then by changing your thoughts you can change your feelings. CBT and mindfulness provide great tools to do this. By capturing the thought and challenging it with powerful questions such as; In a year’s time does this thought matter? Is there another way I can think about this situation. What is the mindful as opposed to the mindless response? What would I say to my best friend if they had this problem (we are great at giving advice to our friends and very poor to do it to ourselves?
Make new connections or renew old ones . Good relationships with close family members, friends, or others are important. Accepting help and support from those who care about you and will listen to you strengthens resilience. Some people find that being community groups, church activities, or other local groups provides social support and can help with reclaiming hope. Assisting others in their time of need also can benefit the helper.
Avoid seeing crises as insurmountable problems. You can’t change the fact that highly stressful events happen, but you can change how you interpret and respond to these events. Try looking beyond the present to how future circumstances may be a little better. Note any subtle ways in which you might already feel somewhat better as you deal with difficult situations.
Accept that change is a part of living. Certain goals may no longer be attainable as a result of adverse situations. Accepting circumstances that cannot be changed can help you focus on circumstances that you can alter.
Move toward your goals. Develop some realistic goals. Do something regularly — even if it seems like a small accomplishment — that enables you to move toward your goals. Instead of focusing on tasks that seem unachievable, ask yourself, “What’s one thing I know I can accomplish that helps me move in the direction I want to go?”
Take decisive actions. Act on adverse situations as much as you can. Take decisive actions, rather than detaching completely from problems and stresses and wishing they would just go away.
Look for opportunities for self-discovery. People often learn something about themselves and may find that they have grown in some respect as a result of their struggle with loss. Many people who have experienced tragedies and hardship have reported better relationships, greater sense of strength even while feeling vulnerable, increased sense of self-worth, a more developed spirituality, and heightened appreciation for life.
Nurture a positive view of yourself. Developing confidence in your ability to solve problems and trusting your instincts helps build resilience.
Keep things in perspective. Even when facing very painful events, try to consider the stressful situation in a broader context and keep a long-term perspective. Avoid blowing the event out of proportion.
Maintain a hopeful outlook. An optimistic outlook enables you to expect that good things will happen in your life. Try visualizing what you want, rather than worrying about what you fear.
Come along to the Radisson Blu in Galway Wednesday 11th November 7pm for a free public talk on ‘Becoming Your Real Self’. My aim is that if you are experiencing Stress, Depression or Anxiety you will walk out with tools to make change straight away so you can move towards hope and freedom. I won’t be asking any questions, you can if you wish, so sit back and relax.