We begin at quite a young age to engage in self commentary that on the whole is unrelentingly negative: we are never beautiful enough, thin enough, smart enough or successful enough and instead of taking these ideas out for questioning and discussion, we cover them over with a veneer of confidence.
If a close friend told us of their inner criticisms we would challenge them vehemently and prove them wrong with evidence and reassurance – but we have no such internal close friend and so this kind of negativity goes unchecked and it can often surface as anxiety and depression after years of practice.
Often, it is when the negativity becomes so heavy or destructive we begin finally to challenge it but it can feel like an uphill battle and this is when we need the help and support of good people around us. Standing up and fighting for ourselves is often the start of a new relationship – one where we see ourselves as being worthy of saving. When we begin to talk to others, we discover that instead of being the only person who has a messy internal life, we are in fact on a continuum of mental health that most people are on or have been on at some stage. Immediately, we relax and begin opening up to the experience and learning that is available right on our doorsteps.
Choosing good people to be around – people you admire and that stretch you – is not only a sign of confidence it also has a positive effect just by being in their company. If you want to take up more exercise, hang around with people who love exercising and their influence will be enormous. People who like themselves, are natural and are interested in you are the kind of people who will create an environment of acceptance that will be the foundation of emotional wellbeing. Focusing on yourself can produce very draining and negative results so being interested in, and having your attention fully on others is key. Worrying what they are thinking about you needs to be dropped and instead be curious about them, ask questions and keep your attention away from yourself.
Remember also that you are having an influence on those close to you and if your relationships are not going well , ask yourself what kind of kind of influence is required and then you can begin instigating this. No relationship needs more criticism, defensiveness or blaming and it only takes one person to begin the change. Even if the other person is not open to change, you have acted with high level awareness, strength and knowledge. Would it not be encouraging to know that people are benefiting from being around you!
We are the decedents of those who have been successful in social groups and we know that to be emotionally healthy is to be engaged with and dependent on those close to us. We do not have to fight our internal or external battles alone and inviting someone to our lives is the starting point for wellbeing and freedom.
** As part of Laois CONNECTS week and Portlaoise Healthy Towns, Dr Trish Murphy will give a talk titled ‘Mental Health and Relationships’ in the Heritage Hotel, Portlaoise on Wednesday, 8 October 2014 @ 7.00pm. Booking Essential: Contact Rachel Ahearne on: 01 669 0259 or by e-mail at: Rachel.firstname.lastname@example.org. Free of charge. Dr. Trish Murphy is a fully qualified and accredited psychotherapist, trainer, mediator and consultant working in private practice and business fields. Trish offers counselling and therapy in Couples Counselling, Sexual Intimacy therapy and individual psychotherapy. She has worked in criminal justice, third level colleges, schools, HSE, Employee Assistance programs, Corporate Training and the private therapy sector, Trish has developed collaborative working relationships with a range of institutes and organisations. Even acting in a variety of committee positions with the Family Therapy Association (FTAI) for a number of years and currently holding the position of Chair. Trish sat on the board of MRCS (Marriage and Relationship Counselling Services) before becoming a member of their Complaints Board. She is a member of the Irish Association of Sexual Medicine.
Trish has a B.Soc.Sc. from UCC and a CQSW (postgraduate professional qualification) from UCD. She has a M.A. in Women’s studies from UCD and an M.Soc.Sc. in Psychotherapy also from UCD. She has additional qualifications in Mediation (Clanwilliam Institute) and Emotional Intelligence (RocheMartin).