How are you getting on with the people in your life?
Sometimes clients tell me they think that having counselling, or another type of help, is selfish because 'it's all about me!' I think therapy can be profoundly generous to others as developing our sense of wellbeing and wholeness may help us engage more skilfully and with greater wisdom in our relationships.
If you can acknowledge and work through your own issues with kindness, patience and honesty, your increased awareness and inner resources could help you face and work through relationship issues with a more constructive and healing energy. Everyone potentially benefits. Let's explore this idea in more detail below...
Improving your relationship with you
Quality relationships with others make everyone's lives better. An obvious statement to make, but it's also backed up by research like this. Let's keep digging!
So, what leads to healthy relationships? Stable, as opposed to anxious/avoidant attachments seem to be a key factor, as this DOAC video on healthy/toxic relationships explores.
How do we develop stable relationships with others? Many psychotherapies and wisdom traditions say we first need to develop a healthy relationship with ourselves. As we get better as doing this, it'll be more likely we can develop and maintain good relationships with others - both people who get on well with, and those who struggle to relate positively to, themselves.
And we develop a better, more stable relationship with ourselves by...? My current understanding is that it's by parenting our own inner world with as much skill, wisdom and compassion that we can muster.
Many things can help us become benign inner parents. Meditation practices, psychotherapy and being surrounded by caring people who value calm stability sound like good places to start. And just as parenting children takes lots of time and patience, we need to bring these same qualities to...
Repeatedly attend to the needs of
Gradually develop better relationships with and
Bring emotional healing when required to...
our own inner childlike elements.
This video by Patrick Teahan gives a great intro to different internal attachment styles and some of the therapeutic tasks that could help each struggling style. While he focuses on childhood experiences, I've regularly seen how events later in life can also impact how we attach (relate) to ourselves and others. If you watch the whole video, there are some useful questions at the end to help you apply this learning to your own situation.