The ultimate goal of your therapy is self-acceptance and self-love. Despite your reasons for referral, you are likely seeking mental health counselling, emotional regulation support, psychotherapy, or mind-set coaching services to manage deep-seated feelings of insecurity. It is completely typical for adults to fear being alone. Problems with your romantic partners, spouse, children, extended family members, co-workers, or boss naturally diminish your feelings of safety. Core relationships at home, work and in your community constitute the person you have become. When one or more of these relationships is challenged, threatened, or radically changed, it will result in feelings of acute stress. Experiences of distress are common when the people you love and respect change.
During periods of conflict and miscommunication, your level of stress is probably running very high. It is important to do your best to maintain your composure and calm. It is really not possible to solve problems when everyone’s emotions are reactive, combative, and fighting to be right. Problems are best solved when people can think clearly about the situation, and feel included in generating possible solutions. A healthy retreat from conflict-ridden and angry situations or people is always an option when remaining present in a heated argument, fight, or angry disagreement triggers an episode of acute stress response in you. It is a self-preserving gesture to run for cover.
Reaching out for support and building healthy alliances with trusted and reliable people in your life is a great way to reduce feelings of stress and upset over situations that you assess are unfair and unjust. Each person has an inner compass that helps you in your daily decision-making. As you learn to listen to your own inner core, you will find that it does speak to you. Your feelings and emotions about particular experiences, situations, and people are the primary ways that your inner core begins to speak to you. When you feel that something is wrong at home, work, or in the community, you do need to listen.
All feelings are healthy and natural, and together in the vast landscape of emotions constitute what it feels to be human. The truth is that we humans all feel the same range of emotions. Where our lives are uncomplicated by an over-reliance on substances that numb your feelings, human emotions can be very powerfully positive and negative. Some feelings may frighten or scare you. Other emotions may result in periods of euphoria and bliss. Once you begin to identify and listen to what your feelings may be telling you, your life will change. It is never a recommended idea to make radical change without first stabilizing your emotional reaction to events or people. If you continue to struggle with feelings of anger, then you may require the support of a mental health clinician trained to co-regulate your emotions or coach to gain clarity on next steps.
You will begin to build healthy and protective boundaries around this precious inner core that is generally referred to as the “self”. You may also discover that your own behaviour has been horrendous, and that you have a part in the conflict in your life at home, work, or in your community. The unexpected gift of building personal boundaries is that you will recognize your own accountability in problems, and where motivated, work to correct things with the people you love.
Trust in your own goodness. Accept that you do know what is best for your own life.
Lisa Romano-Dwyer, BSc, MSW, PhD, RSW