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What do you Need to be Happy?

This week I am leaving an organisation I have been with since I my counsellor training. I started there as a volunteer on placement while I was training, moving onto adult and young people’s services and most recently I have been working as a trainer. I have been lucky to be part of an organisation that has supported me on my journey, giving me opportunities to try new things and to develop my skills. In some ways it would have been easy to stay, but I know that I am ready to move forward.

The catalyst for the change was a simple question that was posed to me a few months ago.

‘What do you need to be happy?’

It was one I had pondered in the past, but something about being asked by someone else, and letting myself answer freely, without becoming entangled by other people’s expectations gave me a moment of clarity. The answer when it came was unexpected, in the moment, although once it was spoken it made perfect sense.

In order to make the changes that would allow me to meet this need, I had to believe that I was able to make it work, to have faith in my abilities. Although it was important to spend time doing the math and figuring out how it might work, the biggest barrier was me. More specifically, it was the negative self-talk that told me I would fail and that my needs were not important. So often it is our own worries and fears that stop us from getting to where we want to go. These can be the emotions that drive the negative voices, that keep us stuck, for fear of ending up somewhere worse. By facing these parts of ourselves and understanding what is driving them, we can start to open a dialogue with them that can lead to a change to how we speak to ourselves.

I’m still working on some of the negative voices, but the conversations have begun to shift. I know that these voices are often the ones that are trying to keep me safe. By taking to time to listen to their worries, by responding to them (and myself) with compassion I can begin to make those small changes that add up over time. Sometimes I can do this on my own or through journaling and creativity, but sometimes I do it by dipping back into therapy, because when the questions come from someone else it is harder to avoid answering them. Sometimes we need someone to hold that space for us, so we can find our own answers.

Let me know what you need to be happy in the comments.

Louise is laughing, looking down and to the right. Text reads 'What do you need to be happy?. Curiosity Spot log and text reading is in the bottom right corner.

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