Photo by Who Is Limos
Feel disappointed in yourself and your life? Long wondered how to be successful in life? And wondering if therapy could help?
Isn’t therapy for when I’m feeling bad?
It’s a common misunderstanding about therapy that the time to go is when our lives are falling apart.
While it certainly can be a godsend during difficult moments, the better time to go to therapy is when things are okay, but not quite right. When we are, say, feeling unable to get to where we want.
This way we are less likely to reach a crash point or find ourselves in pieces. And if we do face an unforeseen challenge, therapy will mean we are more resilient, and in a better place to handle it.
Why does feeling successful matter?
If we don’t feel successful, we can experience many mental and emotional side effects, such as;
And feeling a success is very much linked to our relationships. If you feel a failure, you can end up with relationship problems because you:
A study found that people with low self-esteem sabotage relationships by asking for ‘indirect support’. This means we act sad, sulk, or whine to get the support we need, because we are not confident enough to directly ask for it. And it backfires, leading others to reject instead of support us.
But how can therapy show me how to be successful in life?
There are several reasons, some depending on the type of psychotherapy you try.
1. Therapy helps you define what success really is.
Many of us are chasing someone else’s idea of success. An idea our parents or our culture taught us, and we never questioned. Or something our peers or a partner believes and we go along with.
No wonder it never feels enough. It isn’t anything to do with what we, deep down, believe is success. Therapy helps you figure out who you are outside of the influence of those around you, and what matters to you personally.
2. You will learn your unique personal values.
What matters deeply to you when all else falls away? If you found out you had one year left to live, what would you do with your time? Would you still be living up to your partner’s idea of money and stability, or would you create a charity, or embrace adventure?
The moment you start aligning your choices with your personal values is the moment you start feeling successful. Things feel easier and happier, because you are suddenly enjoying what you are doing and feel like life has purpose.
3. Therapy gives you clarity, then helps you make a plan.
photo by Glen Carstens-Peters
The idea that therapy involves lying on a coach and saying whatever comes to your mind as a therapist sits nodded? It’s vastly outdated. This comes from the first form of therapy, psychoanalysis, but there have been many other schools of therapeutic thought since.
Many forms of modern therapy, particularly from the humanistic school of thought, as well as existential therapy and transpersonal therapy, are focussed on helping you recognise your inner resources. You’ll clarify what you want, what feels meaningful for you, then learn to set and reach goals that lead you in that direction.
4. Talk therapy helps you stop sabotaging.
There is nothing like having to check in with someone every week to keep you on track. When we know someone is going to ask us how things went, and if we took the steps we said we would? We are far more likely to reach success.
More importantly, therapy helps you to stop sabotaging by helping you to recognise and change the negative thinking and limiting beliefs that are leading you to sabotage in the first place.
5. How to be successful in life? Start saying no.
Do you know the fastest way to feel like a failure? To keep saying yes to things you actually don’t want because you feel like you should, or you don’t want to let others down.
Therapy helps us learn how to effectively say no. No to the pressure our parents are putting on us, no to a job we don’t want, no to spending all our time making other people successful instead of ourselves.
6. You’ll find yourself less distracted and more productive.
Think of holding a beach ball under water and the effort it takes. Now try to do that at the same time you make an important business call. Sound odd? It’s actually kind of like the balancing act you are running all the time if you have many repressed emotions and experiences, which take a lot of bandwidth.
No wonder you always feel foggy and like you can’t think straight. A long term therapy like psychodynamic psychotherapy can help you process and release such old experiences.
Or, if you have anxiety, your head will be so filled with negative illogical thoughts it’s hard to focus on what needs to get done. Details get forgotten, things get lost, you are always late. CBT therapy can help you recognise, challenge, and replace your negative thinking.
7. It improves your relationships.
It’s easy to tell ourselves that success is having money in the bank, a house, a big job…. But all of this can feel vacant if we are struggling to connect to others or are always alone.
Research shows that healthy relationships and connection are crucial to not just our mental wellbeing, but to our physical health and longevity.
Ready to stop feeling like a failure and get on track? Get in touch to arrange a session with one of Harley Therapy’s top London talk therapists, available for face to face or online appointments. Or use our booking platform to find affordable UK therapists available for online sessions.
Andrea M. Darcy is a mental health and wellbeing expert and writer. She also runs a consultancy helping people find their perfect therapy and therapist. She loves helping people to recognise the ways they are already successful, and then create a life they feel great in. Follow her on Instagram for useful life tips @am_darcy