I happened upon this article which echoes work I am doing with many clients. The question is, would it be worthwhile to reconnect with friends or family that are no longer active parts of their life? I find this to be relevant in my personal life as well. For many of us, myself included, the pandemic has been an opportunity to reassess who matters most in our lives. I have had to sit with the realization that some of the people I have felt the deepest, most meaningful connections with are individuals with whom I don’t have regular contact. In a few cases, I have not spoken to them in years. Realizing this makes me long for closeness with them. As a result, it has sparked a desire to have those people in my day-to-day life.
This concept extends to our work relationships, too. Even when we are not in the middle of a global pandemic, private practice therapists, like myself, have limited exposure to our colleagues. In fact, there are lots of professions out there in the same boat. Even those that do get to have an “office bestie” have experienced some version of colleague isolation recently. Now, we are needing to work harder to connect with others. For many, this mean focusing on renewing past relationships.
Expectations… we all have them, we all feel the weight of them. In my sessions with clients the theme I see again and again is frustration and pain around unmet expectations. This can be true with our romantic partner, kids, job, friends, the list goes on. We cannot escape having expectations. So why are we so bad at communicating them?
First let’s break down what it means to have expectations. An expectationis “a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future”. Every situation we enter we have a predetermined idea of how we think things are going to go. For example, I have a friend who was excited about going to a pumpkin patch with her husband and children. In her mind they would head out in the morning and have this lovely Fall day among the pumpkins. Maybe sip hot apple cider and treat themselves to those fresh doughnuts those places always seem to have. They’d take adorable pictures of their children in the patch and select their perfect pumpkins before heading home. Once home, the kids would nap and she and her husband could relax on the couch together.
Communication is one of the most important aspects in a romantic relationship. Additionally, it is also one of the most common reasons couples seek out therapy. Communication is about expressing our needs, however, how we hear our partner when they express theirs is equally as important. As a relationship goes on we must constantly evaluate how we communicate with our partner. The absence of meaningful communication within a relationship can lead to miscommunication, fights, and resentment.
How many times have you thought about your partner “they just don’t get it”? The answer may not actually be that simple. It could be that you are not communicating in a way they can easily understand. If this is the case, they will need some help to really grasp what you are trying to express. Successful communication takes practice and does not come easy to many. Couples who are willing to put in the hard work to reach positive and healthy communication will likely thrive together.
One of the most common reasons we see individuals seeking therapy is because they are feeling lost or stuck. Have you ever had the sense that something in your life is off, but are unable to put your finger on it? The wonderful thing about seeing a therapist is that it’s just you and your sounding board. The attention is 100% on you. This can be anxiety provoking for some but, ultimately, is a good thing. It is important for us to know ourselves and be able to address our issues head on. Shying away from accountability and the steps needed for change keeps one entrenched in negative cycles and habits that could be harmful. The therapy room is a safe place to address these issues with the guidance of a trained professional.
Understanding emotion and easily sharing truly is a skill set. Some people are born with it, others learn it along the way. Getting involved in therapy is a great option for anyone looking to improve their life. Skilled sharers, will enjoy the ease of talking to an impartial person. Individuals who find it difficult to open up, can build skills necessary for sharing safely with others. For both, the process can deepen an understanding of one’s emotions and behaviors.