You may have heard it said that we all have the inner resources to cope with life and make ourselves happy. A movement which influenced and still influences counselling practice, called ‘The Person-Centred’ approach developed by Carl Rogers in the 1940s and 50s, carries this idea at its core.
But is this really true? Do we, do you, have all that you need inside of you to live a fulfilling and happy life?
The answer is ‘yes’, but it is a little more complex than it first appears. Often we have what we need to survive, cope, and be happy inside of us but we cannot access these strengths and skills. Or we do not always use them appropriately.
It is a little like buried treasure. Imagine uncovering, and looking down into, a deep well. You can see glimmerings at the bottom of the well but you cannot reach the jewels that sparkle, dulled as they are by the distance of the dark tunnel. You need some help. You need some ladders, rope, and strong people to encourage you into this darkness.
You need support and guidance to help you get to the bottom of your well, your buried treasure, to enable you to access your strengths and skills. How can you do this? Where do you look for the support which will help you travel that long distance, often with little light?
HOW TO FIND YOUR INNER RESOURCES
Listen carefully to the stories of others. Look and learn how other people cope with life situations and stay open to learning from them.
See thinking and feeling as time well spent. All too often we can feel guilty if we aren’t always ‘doing’ things. But thinking and feeling is how we get to know ourselves, and only when we start to understand ourselves can we then show empathy for others too.
Embrace a little solitude. Of course thinking and feeling take time. Allow this space and time to reflect, to be quiet, to be grateful. A little bit of solitude can go a long way.
Surround yourself with emotionally strong people. Watch how they live, emulate their strength and develop this in yourself.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Look for help and ask for help when you need it. It’s not a sign of weakness to need help, and it’s certainly a sign of strength to have the courage to ask for assistance when you need it.
Embark on some form of therapy. Speaking of asking for help, therapy is a wonderful way to help you to understand your own life and find your inner strength and value. There are many kinds of counselling and psychotherapy and coaching available these days and you are bound to find one that suits you.
STILL NOT SURE YOU HAVE INNER RESOURCES?
For many of us, our treasure – our inner resources -is buried deep and is well hidden, its sparkle perhaps buried by early years of trauma and later years of pain. We may even stand at our own well and wonder if we are worthy of treasure. “Do I even deserve to be happy? No-one else has ever thought I was worth anything…”
It’s important to know that your treasure – your skills, strength, and courage – IS there inside of you. You CAN access it and deserve tofind your self-esteem. You do have the potential inside of you to cope, be happy and live a fulfilling life.
But remember that while others can help you make the journey, only you can grasp the treasure. Only you can believe that you are special, a person of value and worth, with gifts and skills. Only you can claim your own buried treasure.