Improve relationships - get some 'me' time
'Relationship issues' are one of the main reasons that people seek counselling. Personally and professionally, human beings are constantly striving to make sense of and improve how they relate to others. Parents, siblings, friends, partners, bosses, colleagues, children - whoever they are, we all want to be able to communicate with this other person so that we can share a meaningful dialogue.
Very often we try to conform to what the other person asks of us. At work we may not have any choice, but in our personal lives we might improve our self esteem if we were not regularly trying to 'people please'. We put aside our own opinions and interests because we don't want to displease our partner. We say 'yes' to an invitation from a relative we don't particularly like because we think we ought to. Why do we do it? Probably the main reasons are that we want to be liked and not feel lonely. Unfortunately, there is usually nothing more likely to induce a feeling of loneliness than being somewhere we don't want to be with someone we're not keen on.
Paradoxically one of the best ways to improve our relationships with others is to develop a relationship with ourselves. It is a well-known truism that we come into the world and leave it on our own, but too many of us don't know how to be on our own anymore. Modern technology and social networking has only exacerbated the problem. If we're not talking on our mobiles we're texting or tweeting or Facebooking. We are, in fact, in almost constant contact with others and some people are frightened to stop, because they don't know what to do on their own.
How many of us take ourselves off to see a movie or visit an art gallery or café on our own? 'Me' time can be surprisingly pleasurable once we get over the initial shock! Interestingly the happier we can be on our own, the better our relationships can be, if only because we wont be so reliant on the other person to fulfil our needs.
Of course there are times when we need to discuss relationship problems with an experienced professional and this is where counselling can be invaluable.
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