How Therapy Helps You Get The Happiness You Want

This is the first entry in a series : How can therapy help me?

Wouldn’t it be great to be happy all the time?  Life doesn’t dish out constant happiness, but all of us should be happy, joyful really, at least some of the time.

If you don’t, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have depression…there can be lots of reasons.  A big one is that many of us are living as if we were still in the world we  were born into – in our original families.

This is nothing to feel stupid about or condemn yourself over. When you were a kid you were  smart and you learned quickly what was going on in your world.  If there was a lot of anger and criticism, abusive treatment that no kid deserves, or high standards that no kid could attain, you probably  figured out the best way to cope with what you had to live with.

The problem is that all of us human children, (because we can’t afford to learn every new circumstance from scratch,)  generalize what we learned in the  world of our parents and siblings to what might happen outside the house with other people, and we were on guard for this to happen again.  This expectation of what is likely to happen  lasts — we generalize what we learned as children to the world we live in now. Many people  live like this much too long in their lives –  basically trying to  protect themselves from what isn’t out there any more.  Therapy helps a lot.

There are other underlying reasons  that keep us humans from being ourselves and enjoying our lives. Perhaps you are living someone else’s definition of who you ought to be.  Maybe to  be a good person in your family you took care of everyone, to help out your Mom, or because nobody else was paying attention, and now you have a knee jerk response of taking care of others over your own needs. Maybe your father was impressed with people who had a lot of money and you’ve become just what he wanted you to become – a successful business man, only you hate it and want to be home more.  Some people  stay married because their folks would be horrified to have a divorse in the family. There are endless varieties on this theme, and not much joy.

This discussion is continued over the next few blogs.

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