All too often, people view getting help with personal issues as a sign of weakness. While most people would not hesitate to see a medical doctor for physical illnesses, take their car to a mechanic when it’s not running properly, or ask for directions when lost, we somehow feel that our own intuition should be sufficient when tending to relationship and emotional issues. This logical contradiction is largely born out of fear and defensiveness. The idea of getting help for relationships sets in motion our deepest insecurities about ourselves; there must be something deeply wrong with me if the way I am relating to others is not working.
The way we view ourselves and the world affects every relationship we have. These beliefs are deeply woven into us by our past experiences, culture, and largely unconscious instincts that have been passed down generations. It feels invasive and painful to question or challenge any of these beliefs. People who are fearful of uncovering and facing uncomfortable truths take this powerless position and avoid asking for help altogether, thereby condemning themselves to potentially years of unnecessary frustration and pain.
It is my position that seeking out and asking for help is a sign of strength. You are brave enough to face your own demons and work to understand yourself and your loved ones in a more authentic way. You are courageous enough to examine and let go of firmly held beliefs that may have worked for you for some time, but now are creating disruption in your life. You have the self-confidence to accept that wanting to change yourself for the better is not an admission that you are a defective, unworthy person. Once we have done the work and achieved a more authentic understanding of ourselves, our relationships improve as we are able to make better decisions about how we treat ourselves and one another.
The idea that intuition should be enough to navigate the complicated world of relationships has always baffled me. Relationships are the most paradoxical, irrational, seemingly non-sensical aspects of life. They can often be intensely painful and frustrating. In the moments of intense interpersonal conflicts, our biology works against us and the ability to see ourselves and others clearly and rationally is even further compromised. Yet even with all of these complications, relationships are the only things in life we believe we must handle on our own. If you are struggling with a difficult relationship with someone else or yourself, you are not alone. Everyone struggles to some degree in this area of life. As with any skill, those who are more skillful at relationships are those who have learned and practiced over time.
If life has not turned out the way you had hoped or you are feeling depressed, anxious or angry much of the time, ask yourself how long you wish to feel this way before simply pulling over and asking directions? Yes, you may eventually find your own way without help, but you will get there faster and having experienced far less frustration and pain if you simply summon the courage to ask (and you do not want to be lost forso long that you completely miss the party!)