Growth continues throughout life. Knowing how to recognize the difference between ordinary problems of living and signals that there is something really wrong is a challenge. Many people don’t really know what “healthy“ people are like. Some confuse health with perfection.

You might even be functioning as a healthy person right now, and like Connie, be unaware of it.

Connie thought she might need to go back into therapy because of a number of problems in her life.

  • She was struggling with her adolescent children
    about reassigning family responsibilities.
  • Her divorce was final and she was completing
    the training for a career change.
  • She was aware of feeling sad.

In a discussion with her former therapist, she was affirmed for effectively handling transitions in her life. Her sadness was an appropriate response to those transitions. She was getting support from her friends while going through those changes; she was beginning to become aware of the excitement and scare of creating her life the way she wanted it to be.

There were no barriers, only feelings.

Connie is a good example of a healthy person. She still has problems, and she knows how to address them and get appropriate help when she needs it. Most of the time she enjoys her life. She enjoys other people. She lives a relatively balanced life.

When she has a problem she thinks about what it is. She acknowledges any feelings that are associated with it and uses those feelings to discover her own wants and needs in the situation. She takes appropriate action to solve the problem, and, although she may feel discouraged when others resist, she doesn’t abandon her beliefs.

Whenever she deals with people she takes into account what she wants, finds out what they want, and does her best to find cooperative solutions that take into account what is possible in any given situation. This sometimes means setting limits for her teenagers — even though they aren’t happy about those limits.

Her son wants to leave her home and live with his father. She’s helping him explore the options even though she would like to have him with her during his last year in high school. He wants to go now but she is not letting him leave without thinking through the problem.

Connie knows where she wants her life to go. She has general goals for her new career and is exploring how to make them more specific. She has definite short term goals about where she would like to do her practicum work. She also has goals about her relationship with various members of her family, taking sufficient time for play and her own spiritual development.

She no longer needs her safe support group and has developed friends in work, at school, and in her community.

Although Connie has her own objectives, she is sometimes willing to put them aside to help one of her friends. (She also says no sometimes.) She doesn’t hesitate to ask for and accept help when she needs it. And she’s often, but not always, available for her friends when they need help.

She’s either forgiven or made friends with most of the people she used to see as adversaries. When she finds herself feeling that somebody is creating problems for her, she takes time to consider their needs and feelings. Instead of automatically blaming them or herself, she tries to find a creative solution.

Connie is willing to look at her own contribution to any problem that arises and when she does discover that she is engaging in an old pattern she takes the time to refer back to her previous growth work until she understands and can change what’s going on.

She has already shifted her focus from recovery to growth and keeps moving towards creating her life the way she wants it to be.

[tags]self help, relationships, self-improvement, psychotherapy, personal growth, emotional problems [/tags]