Are You Getting the Help You Need?
When we find ourselves with a problem we can't solve, we look widely and in all sorts of places for help. Will the ‘answer' be in this self-help book? In the advice of a friend? What a parent told me when I was a child? In the toss of a coin? In proverbs and sayings? Through the power of our habitual response? Whilst these might be useful sources of guidance, perhaps meaningful answers are nearer at hand when we are looking for help.
Studying the environment
When faced with a difficult decision or a situation that overwhelms us, it is pretty understandable that we take in information from a wide range of sources. This is a way that our brains seem designed to operate. We take in a wide range of data, consciously and unconsciously look for patterns and try to find some synthesis. This is actually a highly developed evolutionary skill, where we use subtle pieces of data as a basis for our decisions. Many times it can cause us to make a good choice that we might not have made using our best logical thinking.
However, we are surrounded by sources of data that clamour for our attention and all proclaim that they are ‘the answer' to our problems. The difficulty with this approach is that the data doesn't necessarily fit together to create a synthesis as it doesn't have a single source – it can have embedded contradictions and be extremely frustrating.
Getting good data about ourselves
All this has the effect of pushing us further from reliable sources of good data about ourselves and our situation. What is this reliable source of good data about ourselves? Our feelings. To become more aware of what we feel gives us more insight into what is right for us; it also informs us about the things that aren't right for us. To be more aware of what we feel is to be more aware of how things affect us and the real cost of the decisions we make.
It's not to say that we always do the things that we want to do, but it is helpful to become more aware of what we are getting into.
Getting some assistance
The process of psychotherapy is one that inevitably brings us more in touch with the things that we feel. Take time to talk about the events that happen to you and the way you responded to them. Doing this, we turn our attention to how these things impact us on subtle levels; it's not uncommon for realisation to follow on from realisation. It is this increased awareness that can ultimately give us the information we need to move forward.
– Tim Hill
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