Reaching Out To Another

I have had many discussions with people struggling with life and how in this struggle they can be reluctant to reach out to others; whether that be with friends, family, or, with their therapist in the counselling space.  Reaching out is risky, and to do so means exposing our vulnerable selves; risking possible rejection, judgement, or ridicule, which is what we least want to receive from others when we are feeling fragile. 

This is to no surprise, as we are taught to be self-sufficient and find solutions from our rational minds, seeing our problems as something to just ‘get on with’ whilst shaming ourselves for feeling fragile. I, like everyone else, have felt the isolation of suffering and have distanced myself from reaching out to another for fear of burdening them.  We can then tell ourselves that we are not good enough and ‘should’ be able to cope better, which increases our sense of isolation, failure and inadequacy.  We have all heard someone say that we need to ‘get over it’ or ‘be strong’, but how do we do that? 

If we can create a more compassionate, less critical response to ourselves as people, and form trusting relationships we can begin to connect with others and open the way to more true and meaningful relationships that go beyond the surface. To do this takes a leap of strength, faith and courage to reach out, which can leave us wanting to take flight to escape this vulnerability. 

Counselling is not about rationalising and pushing aside these emotions, but on forming a trusting safe bedrock from where we can open up to our true selves, including those parts that we hide from others for fear of judgement.  In the past, I have rationalised problems and was cut off from my emotions, but in doing so we can sever acceptance and valuing of ourselves.  From that first courageous step, and with a hand to hold, we can tentatively open up to others and learn how to improve how we see ourselves to enrich our relationships with others.

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