Through our own or another's insights, we may have seen some new possibilities for our lives. At times, that is enough to take charge of our lives. At others, we may need help or consult with others.
However, we may need help at times to:
Fortunately, there are many who have the skills and training to provide such help, and the rest of this page provides some indication of who might be able to help, along with suggestions of how to handle the changes that occur with taking a different path.
There are many professionals who we may call upon to help us with aspects of our lives.
|1||Counsellor||Expressing how we feel and what we need||As we change, we need to be able to discuss and negotiate with others about the effect of the changes upon us and them|
|2||Motivational coach||Maintain enthusiasm||Changes can trigger emotional reactions, for which some extra self-motivational skills may be acquired to focus them to our benefit|
|3||Life coach||Goal setting and planning||Goals require planning and scheduling to achieve, as well as well-defined criteria by which to measure progress|
|4||Mentor||Discuss approaches to what's happening in our lives||Sometimes we just need to talk with someone to discuss how we can approach situations and opportunities in our lives|
|5||Psychologist||Maintain and focus will||Past decisions may be affecting how we deal with the changes required. Without dwelling on them, if we give them enough attention to undo their negative influence, we can move beyond them|
|6||Dietitian||Balanced and nutritious food||Except for air and sunlight, our bodies are built out of the food we eat. We are all different, so we may need specific foods to achieve better outcomes. We just need to learn what works for us|
Of course, no matter how helpful such people may be, we are responsible for our growth and making the changes that enable that. Therefore, we should always have specific goals in mind when working with other people, and work out with them how we can measure our progress. It may be best to seek help for finite periods, and with a view to being more independent. Also, it is better to only use such help to change one or two aspects of our lives at the same time, as that enables us to be clearer about exactly what is contributing to our progress.
Regarding coaches, they seem to have become a major industry, with many hyping one methodology or another. Avoid those who follow the one-size-fits-all approach of a methodology, as that will likely mean that they are not used to working on an individual's needs or haven't been trained to do so. It is important not to be caught up in signing up for a course just to deal with an aspect or two of what needs to be worked on. Courses can sometimes help gain skills, but are generally not good for dealing with specific issues which need a skillfully tailored and insightful response.
In all things, we need balance. We can choose the rate at which we want to change, so that we still feel in control of our destiny. We should never give that choice away.
We only need take onboard what we need to achieve our goals. All of those we may enlist for help will have philosophies that guide their lives. However, we should never feel obliged by them to take those as essential for us. If we do not feel comfortable with them, we may need to move on. We do not need to be angry or annoyed to do that.
At some point, we may feel we no longer need a person’s help. We can discuss that with them, and we don’t need to feel obliged to continue. We can always go back to them, if, after working on ourselves, or getting help from someone else, we want more of their type of help. We can avoid getting attached to needing people, because otherwise we sacrifice our ability to choose the best outcomes for ourselves.
With changes and the realisation of what our potential is, new opportunities for exploration and activity become open to us. However, we often have obligations to others we need to continue to fulfil.
While we may have a tendency to see those relationships as holding us back at times, they can more beneficially seen as a counter-balance or reality-check to us becoming too caught up in the new possibilities. At each step in our growth, we can seek to engage them in our changes, but also discuss with them how they may take advantage of the new opportunities for their own lives. Growth is a shared activity.
Friends may react in ways we may not expect when we start making changes. Not all may be prepared to accept the
new and improved version of us. We can accept that and be prepared to tone down the types of activities we engage in with them, so that we can still enjoy each other’s company without resentment.
Our beliefs are our own, but seeing new opportunities for ourselves may challenge some of those beliefs. At that point we may need to seek counsel about how to reconcile them. However, we need never feel obligated to maintain beliefs that we don't feel are relevant to us any more. Indeed, we may want to seek alternate counsel, or widen our reading, to get different perspectives on how to integrate the new and old. We need to learn to be true to ourselves, rather than fit a mould cast for us by others. That is our obligation to ourselves.
Lastly, we must beware of anyone offering to remove our obligations to others. No one can discharge our obligations but us. We will need to discuss our obligations with those affected if we want to make changes, because we need their consent.
However, that is different from letting go of our own attachments to our perceived responsibilities if we are no longer required to keep them, so we may need to talk to those affected just to see if they still consider the obligations valid. We can release ourselves from a lot of stress just by doing that.
Conversely, some may consider we still owe them, even though we may consider any obligations discharged, or at least working at a lower level. Adult children can often assume our responsibilities extend well past their use-by date. Again, discussion can help to limit unrealistic expectations of us that others may have.
While we may get an insight into possibilities for our lives, much of our future is often dependent upon what other people decide to do. To change that, we need to negotiate with them.
However, just because our new vision of our future and goals may now make it obvious to us what actions need to be done, those others required to help make it happen might not be so enthralled. This means we will need to spend time discussing what changes may need to happen, and negotiate goals and the timeframes for achieving them.
We need to be flexible in our expectations of others, and be prepared for the situation where some of our goals may not be met, due to the inability of others to accept their part in it.
That is them exercising their free will, which we cannot force them to use to our benefit. However, we may be able to work out compromises that still enable us to largely achieve what we want, but probably not as quickly as we would like. If we are prepared to accept that, we may well find that after giving people space to make up their own minds without undue pressure from us, they may well come around to our way of thinking.
To facilitate that, we will need to discuss how the changes might affect them, and what benefits and downsides the changes may have for them. If we are really open about finding a common path, in opening up about their needs, we may find that they come up with ideas that may be even more beneficial to us.
We have to be aware that if we try to force people to our way of thinking before they are ready, there are two choices they are likely to take.
They may reject our whole endeavour, which may severely thwart our plans, at least in the short term. Otherwise they may, on the surface, agree, but actually resent it, and effectively undermine our efforts in not so obvious ways. We cannot blame them if we were pushing too hard, or were too uncompromising in some, or all, of our demands.
Part of avoiding a feeling of confrontation is to choose a mutually convenient place and time, where all can feel safe being open about discussing and negotiating what might be quite sensitive issues.
Some people may reject the relationship with us if our new path is too radical a change for them to adapt to, probably because it is too far outside their view of what our relationship meant to them.
At that point, we need to make the choice as to whether to continue the relationship, but without achieving some of our goals, or opt to go our own way, and live with the consequences. Either way, it is us exercising our free will, just as their decision was them exercising theirs. We cannot afford to assign blame, nor harbour resentment, as that will undermine our future, by sapping our enthusiasm in favour of regrets and recriminations for the past.
Living with our choices can be difficult, but that is the price for owning our own destiny and deciding our own future. We make our choices, but can respect others theirs. Then we can all grow and learn.
Of all relationships, those with our family members can be the most difficult. This is because they are forged when only children, but can then permeate into adult life.
As children, we are learning to become our own person as we gradually exercise our free will.
Of course, we start out with little experience of the dangers of the world, and so cannot see the reasons for why our parents may place restrictions upon us. This can lead to a lot of frustration and anger, which can create problems in areas outside the family.
It seems that as children, we often rebel against our parents in their thinking, perhaps as a result of trying to be our own person, but emulate our parents’ emotions in how we deal with issues, usually because that is the main role model we have had. Many times this results in discussions rapidly leading to intractable and aggressive arguments as strong wills battle each other.
Problems can compound as disruptive or counterproductive behaviours and attitudes arising during childhood are carried into our adult life, and, unless consciously avoided, become part of how we interact with our children. Fortunately, there are many points at which the patterns can be broken.
Firstly, we can recognise that children are not deliberately being difficult from the outset, but tend to that as they become frustrated with the lack of success of their other efforts at communication, and so do things that guarantee attention. It is important to stop and appreciate what they see the situation as. Then, rather than being frustrated with their behaviour, we can begin to isolate what they actually need, and negotiate that with them instead.
Next, and one that can present a lot of difficulty, is to really examine what we are expecting from our children. Are we wanting them to grow up to be what they can do best, or are we trying to get them to fulfil our desires, perhaps to follow in our footsteps, or to be what we weren’t allowed? The best path is to appreciate what their skills and abilities actually are, and nurture them, because that is what they will be able to excel at.
Of course, we need to take into account what they may be interested in doing, as the enthusiasm they bring to that will allow them to accumulate a lot of skills that will be useful in the future, even if they change their mind and do something else. They need to find out their skills and propensities for themselves, so that they can understand themselves better, and thus be able to marshal all their resources to any task they put their mind to. Many exceptional people have had to try their hand at many things before they found what they really preferred.
Giving them that freedom will go a long way to them respecting us, and thus establishing a positive relationship with us that they will continue into their adult life.
Parents can often have a difficult time coming to terms with the seemingly conflicting aims of fostering their children’s free will, while protecting them from dangers.
However, nobody is perfect, and so many mistakes are made, which tends to build up frustrations and regrets, adding in emotional baggage to their dealings with us.
As an child, we may have had a difficult time with one or both of our parents, and there may still be residual resentments and frustrations that continue to disrupt our relationship with them. A first step is to realise that they may not have been deliberately creating problems for us as a child, but trying their best with what they thought was the right thing at the time. There is a lot more information available regarding parenting these days than there was in the past. Forgiveness can go a long way to changing our attitudes, and thus in what directions we allow conversations with them to go.
There may be some issues that are just too deep to be resolved in the time we have available with them, or are unlikely to receive the kind of positive attention required for resolution due to some intractable attitudes. We can be grateful and happy if we achieve success in some areas of our relationship, as they will result in less stress all round.
In those circumstances where reconciliation is unlikely, we may just have to learn to let go of the relationship, and let the future bring what it will. We can then get on with making our lives the best for us, rather than holding onto regrets, frustrations or anger from the past. If things change for the better, then that is a bonus!
If we have reached adulthood with some attitudes or behaviours that we would rather not have, we should do something about them, and as soon as possible.
There is no need to remain the same, or continue to exist as we have been. There are professionals and support groups that can help us change ourselves for the better. As we change, we don’t need to be afraid to move on, or get other help.
What many people find out later in life is that they had some undiagnosed neurological issues that were creating varying degrees of impediments to handling some facets of their lives and relationships. When they were young, they were seen as difficult or inattentive and so were not treated properly, further exacerbating their difficulties, leading to difficult lives as adults.
Such conditions as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and several others are hard-wired and may need help with strategies to manage them. Some drugs may help control more difficult symptoms, but those would need an official psychiatric assessment to be prescribed. There are many thorough online tests that will indicate whether any of these conditions exist and to what extent. Such sites also contain links for more information about the conditions.
In the end, we can be realistic about our expectations of ourselves and others, and all will have a happier life.