Do you have people in your life that give you trouble? Do you often feel that you are not valued by those in your life who are friends, or maybe even family? We form connections with people outside of our family, but sometimes those engagements are not always beneficial to us. Sometimes the relationships we have start out as healthy, but end up being not as healthy as they were when we first met the person. If you find yourself in such a situation, you might find it useful to consider what you need to do to create that healthy space in your life. For some people, this might entail communicating with the person in question and expressing your thoughts and feelings about what isn't working in your connection with the friend. If there is difficulty in doing this, maybe writing down some free flow thoughts on paper to get to a place where you can center your thoughts on the actual problem you are experiencing. Then having an open and honest conversation with your friend to see if there is mutual agreement or not, and what can be done to work through the challenge.
Communication that is respectful and supportive is central to a healthy interaction with anyone, whether it be family, friends, co-workers, or even neighbors. We want to be valued for who we are and where we are in our life. And if you find yourself in a relationship with someone who is not honoring you, then it becomes important for you to protect yourself emotionally, psychologically, or maybe even physically. For family connections, this becomes a bit more difficult at times. While you might not be able to divorce your family relationships in the strict sense, sometimes we have to distance ourselves from some members in our family who are toxic to us, just to survive. This is okay, as self-preservation of our own comfort and ability to be happy should be paramount. We do not need to sacrifice these things for the sake of family. Other people in our life should be viewed with a more honest examination. Those who do not bring us joy, or who do not give us a sense of being valued and respected, really do not need to be in our life. It is not healthy, and they will often tear us down in multiple ways.
Relationships are built on trust, respect, mutually supportive interactions, and positive regard for the other person. When these components of a healthy relationship are not present, the energy in the relationship is out of balance, and can damage you or the other person. Caring enough to hear the concerns of your friend and honor the friendship in this way, is just as important as being cared for enough to be heard and honored by your friend. So it is a mutually agreed upon connection. If there is a break in that connection, it can damage the way you connect with the person. Sometimes it takes an honest look at why we are in the friendship. What value is the friendship offering us, or what good are we receiving from the person with whom we are engaged? These are questions that become essential for us as individuals, but also reflect our willingness to protect ourselves from abusive interactions.
Many of the clients I have worked with in therapy, seem to have a theme of not knowing how to deal with a particular person in their life. What is central to this question, is to assess the central problem in your engagement with the person; the value of the relationship; the desire to maintain the relationship; what you can control in the relationship (and here's a hint...it's just your response and actions you can control); and whether the other person is willing to examine the concerns with you that you feel are important. These take time to consider, and they become the basis to making a decision in whether or not to continue the connection. While not always perfect, all friendships and engagements with other people have rough spots and disagreements. So taking the time to reflect and consider what is wrong and if it can be worked out is crucial. Counseling can help in this regard. Seeking out a therapist who can provide an objective, uninvolved perspective might clear up so many questions, and help you come to a good decision. Allow yourself to be open to seek out the help you need to engage with people around you in healthy ways, and always remember that you have the right to be respected and honored as you seek your highest self and look for those who share those values.
These two words, represent an idea that few people seem to do effectively. Most people work long hours until they get sick, do not eat well, fail to get adequate rest, and do other things that are not healthy or good in providing positive results in their life. If you find that this might be true in your own life, then I encourage you to keep reading. I too am just as susceptible to this lack of awareness in keeping myself balanced. I tend to try to do too much in one day, and usually end up being ineffective in doing most of it when I don't take time out to rest, eat, enjoy life, and find balance.
I spoke to a woman today who works 12 hour days, and commutes. I commented that when we get to the place where we forget to take care of ourselves, it becomes a routine not to do it, and that we then run the risk of a whole host of other issues. Poor health, exhaustion, and lack of balance, just to name a few. We need to decide to give ourselves time for ourselves. We need to reflect on our wants and needs and make sure that we can create a balance that offers us a chance to be productive in living our lives, but also finding time for rest and renewal.
This is where going for walks, watching a movie, spending time with friends, playing with our pets, or just sitting and listening to our breath can become spaces of time that we will thank ourselves for later. If you find yourself not able to function and do all the things you are use to do doing, I would encourage you to take a step back and look at where you are putting your energy. Is any of it for yourself? If you are in a toxic relationship for example, consider the impact it has on you and what you need to do to take care of yourself. if the issue is over work or some other matter, what can you do to create peace and harmony in your life. You deserve to have it, and no one else can really give it to you. So it becomes hugely important to take time on a regular basis and look within and without, and find ways to increase self-care. Counseling can be helpful in this was too, and if you find the need to pursue counseling you will likely find a supportive ear as you explore ways to create more balance in your live. May you be willing to take greater care of your life, as a gift to yourself.
Focusing on the various problems and concerns in our life brings about different results. These results can usually be due to effort we give to a particular goal or problem. Sometimes, they are the manifestation of the ideas and thoughts that dictate where we put our energy. When we want to have a particular outcome, we play a huge role in the what, where, how, and why of focusing our thoughts and energy to obtain a specific result. Many people may have different ways of seeing this concept, but it is really quite simple. Where you put your focus, impacts the result or outcome.
Many people go through life thinking negatively. This is counter-productive to thinking about success. We find it is difficult to gain what we want when we focus on all the things that are wrong in our life, or not working, or just plain broken. Shifting that way of thinking into an approach that is more positive, can actually help reverse the negative flow of energy in our lives. If you find yourself walking around complaining all the time about the things you don't have, or the bills that are not being paid, or your health, that negativity will drag you down rather quickly. On the other hand, thinking of the things that are going right in your world and finding blessings of health, maybe good friends, and even the ability to enjoy something fun, can create a positive flow of energy that can be built upon for the future.
What we focus on, we tend to receive. Some people call it a law of attraction, when we place our thinking in different places - positive or negative, good or bad. We have a lot of control in how we respond and engage with all the different places where outcomes are possible. We can choose for ourselves what we want in our life. If we need to give up people who are tearing us down, then we might find that to be an important decision to help us move forward. If we need to think about how we will be successful in finding a job, or getting a new house, eventually it will happen when we put out our effort and desire. Doubt and despair play their part, and we are free to embrace that thinking and energy as well. We get to decide for ourselves the story we create. We do not have to be not blown about by the wind unless we have decided to give up. Creating patterns of positive thinking, can change our outlook on living life. We own the power...we should use it.
Shawn Thomas Berthel M.S., is the owner of Life Path Counseling PLLC, and a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor. He lives in University Place, Washington.