Two Types of Challenges In Life
Two types of challenges cause us to struggle in life: those that circumstance throws our way, and those we essentially create for ourselves.
Many challenges are of the "just a part of life" category of inherently difficult situations. These come in all shapes and sizes: injury, illness, loss, betrayal, defeat, adversity, poverty. These and many other problems that cause much of the hardship and grief of life are inevitable sources of pain that everybody must face. A great deal of counseling revolves around the struggle to make sense and gain mastery of these difficult but unavoidable challenges of life.
But of course those are not the only problems we face. Many of our greatest challenges reside not so much "out there" in the world but within the deep recesses of our all-too-human heads and hearts. Examples of these "interior challenges" include depression, anxiety, addiction and all the other ways people distort, magnify, numb, deny, repress, convert, or otherwise respond in a functionally unhealthy manner to life stresses.
These two fundamental sources of suffering and woe interact in infinite ways. Difficult life events often lead a person to respond in ways that can make matters worse. This creates an even more challenging situation which can result in yet another round of unhealthy and unproductive reactions. All too often this mutual influence spirals into a terrible dance of destruction.
This is the point at which simple "advice-giving" is often not enough to change the situation for the better. More inwardly directed goals may be necessary, such as improving the ability to regulate thoughts and emotions, developing a deeper capacity for insight, resolving traumatic imprinting, exploring core beliefs about self and others, increasing effective relationship skills and many other forms of improving overall functioning and satisfaction. Some of these goals may initially seem theoretical or confusing at first glance but collectively they are all ways to reduce the destructive impact of internal challenges and improve the quality of responses to external challenges. Often a variety of such approaches is the best course of action.
So we all have challenges in life, and we all create challenges by the way we think and feel. As a person committed to helping people improve their lives I value dealing with both ends of the spectrum. Even if a person is clearly struggling with major internal challenges, I consistently build upon the healthy, functional or strong aspects of that person's life, which are invariably present in abundance. Too many therapists focus on deficits without giving equal consideration to strengths and assets. I find it's often the case that nothing is so wrong with a person that can't be improved by what is right.
Facing and addressing the challenges of your life can bring great rewards for you, those around you and the world at large. It's OK to seek help. As the saying goes, "you alone can do it, but you don't have to do it alone."
I hope you will take a little time to read some of my many other articles to educate, encourage and inspire you along your journey to a life you richly deserve. If I can provide more personal assistance to you, either in person, by phone or via Skype, please don't hesitate to contact me.