In this post, I’ll talk about how I learned what makes me happy and three reasons to try therapy.
When I began my quest to be a happier woman, I had so many burning questions about myself that I needed to explore.
At the time, I felt like I was going through a mid 20’s crisis. I kept thinking,
‘Who am I?’ ‘What do I want?’ ‘Why am I doing what I’m doing?’
I wasn’t sure where to start because I felt like I had already grown up. I thought to myself,
‘You’re 26! You should know who you are by now.’
But I didn’t feel like I knew myself. So I did what I always do when I need help with something – I found an expert on the subject. I decided to get a therapist.
So many of us are walking around with emotional baggage that we don’t even know we have.
You may have negative beliefs about yourself that are holding you back and stopping you from fulfilling your potential.
‘I can’t ask for the promotion, I don’t deserve it yet.’ Even when all the evidence shows that you do.
You might be repeating patterns that you know don’t serve you and yet you keep doing it.
‘They’re not treating me well but if I just try harder I know they will change.’ The song you sing about every person you date though deep down you know you deserve better.
You might be creating stress in your life through your own actions and unhelpful messages that have been repeated to you by your family, friends or society.
‘I know I should avoid working so late and take breaks from work more but I have to keep working hard. If I don’t work till I’m burnt out, I’m not working hard enough.’ The reason you give yourself for not making choices that provide you with a good work-life balance.
And my favourite one, ‘If I say no, they won’t like me.’ As if your main purpose in life is to be liked and to live your life based on what other people want.
Why You Should Invest In Therapy
Investing in therapy is one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself emotionally and mentally. It helped me develop habits that have made me a happier person.
I believe everyone could benefit from going to therapy consistently at least once in their life. Here are three reasons to try therapy:
Uncover Your Baggage And Self Limiting Beliefs
Therapy helped me uncover my baggage and self limiting beliefs about myself that I didn’t know were there.
I grew up in a culture where it was hammered into my psyche that as a woman I should not be too visible. My dignity as a woman came from being covered and not being too “out there”.
This affected me as an adult because I would shy away from doing things because I didn’t want to be seen.
When I would achieve something great at work, my manager would encourage me to share it with others. I would cringe because I didn’t want to draw attention to myself.
After all, only bad girls brought attention to themselves. The strange part was I had no problem promoting other women’s achievements and I loved to see them do it.
Yet I struggled to do this for myself. I didn’t realise why I was doing this until I went to therapy and the link between the messages I received growing up and my behaviour was established.
Once I understood where this came from, I was able to work on minimising the behaviour.
Improve Your Self Awareness
Therapy helps you to understand yourself on a deeper level because the topic of conversation is always you.
Your feelings about the things that happen to you can tell you a lot about yourself. When we feel difficult emotions, our usual reaction is to try to push away those feelings.
Therapy taught me to sit with difficult feelings and understand why I felt them.
When I feel anger, instead of focusing on pushing it away I acknowledge it and try to understand it.
‘Well hello there anger, fancy seeing you again. Why have you showed up today?’
I learned in therapy that one way to work with difficult emotions is through journaling. You’d be amazed at what comes to the surface when you write what you feel without thinking about it.
Acknowledging my feelings and journaling about them has helped me know myself and become more self aware.
I also journal when I’m trying to find a solution to something and it’s not clear. Journaling helps me to figure it out.
Learn To Honour Your Needs
So many of us are ignoring our needs and this causes us to be in a constant state of stress and unhappiness.
What’s worse is thinking that it’s okay to always be unhappy and stressed. That it’s something we need to simply put up with and we don’t have the power to make changes.
Therapy taught me that I have control over my life, I can make choices that will make me happy and I can honour my needs in a way that is aligned with my values.
For example, I know that having a good work-life balance is one of my core values. I ensure I make the best use of my time at work so that I don’t work ridiculously long hours and on weekends.
It’s not easy going to therapy and committing to it long term but the long term benefits are worth it. Everyone has baggage. Get to know yours so it doesn’t impact other areas of your life.
Have you tried therapy? Do you have a therapist? What was your experience like? Let me know in the comments!