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Why is failure not an option?

It just so happens that the usual week for my monthly blog post also falls on Mental Health Awareness Week. It seems as if mental health is everywhere at the moment and that's a good thing isn't it? Everywhere we look there's news about mental health charities, TV programmes broadcasting about the benefits of therapy and even the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge are raising awareness with their new text service Shout. We should be encouraged to speak out and seek help when we need it and this is something I've advocated in many of my previous posts, however, for some it's not that simple.

Sometimes taking that first step is the hardest - whether it be admitting there's an issue or knowing where to find the help. But you're not alone. I see many clients come through the door who think they shouldn't be there, they're weak or that it's not a big problem and they're just making it out to be. My reply to them always is "why not? It's how you feel".

We are in the midst of a society that tells us we have to be perfect, to achieve, failure isn't an option and that we need to be available at all times. But the result of this is a generation that's feeling anxious, angry, burnt out and feeling like failures, which has also included me at times. This idea that failure not being an option often translates into the therapy room as by seeking help it means that the client has failed to manage the situation themselves. I wonder if you can think of a time where you've sought help from someone else? Does that mean you've failed? Why does a situation where you need help or support equal failure? It doesn't so then why does seeing a therapist mean that?

I work with clients to accept themselves as people that can fail and will at some point. It's part of human nature and the world we live in. I've often heard the phrase "second place means first place loser" which indicates how ingrained this has been in some people's belief systems. Failure isn't a dirty word and can be something to help us move forward and become more emotionally tolerant people. By ridding our demands for not failing or being perfect you're accepting yourself for who you are whilst increasing your tolerance to disappointment. It's not always an easy task but life isn't easy at times. By feeling like you're able to cope, accept things for what they are and feel strong enough to cope with them leads to better emotional health.

Please know you're never alone, there are people out there such as friends, family & trained professionals that can help support you and work with you to get through this. Don't suffer in silence and know that just because you may have failed at something it doesn't make you a total failure.

My clients often inspire me with their determination, effort to make change and their progress (no matter how big or small). I am privileged as a therapist to be able to work with clients, watch them make changes to their life and accept themselves for who they are. It's a huge reason why I love what I do and everyone that walks through the door is taking that first step.

Please don't hesitate to get in touch should you feel like you need additional support or want an informal chat.

Till next month

Lauren x

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