What is a great life? What is living life to the full? I guess if we are fortunate enough to live in a country where we are several rungs up the ladder of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, we can aim towards the higher aspirations that peak at self actualisation.
What exactly is self actualisation to the man or woman in the street? Well according to the organismic theorist Kurt Goldstein it’s living up to life’s full potential. Yet most of us have something that gets right in the way of that. If our potential can be likened to the accelerator on a car, then our neuroses could be likened to the brake.
You see potential is one thing, but how often do we get in the way of our own life possibilities? As children we know little about boundaries and limitations. In fact at this age we are constantly testing what is possible, what is allowable, and then concluding on this, leading to what is considered to be self-responsibility.
If self-responsibility is a learnt boundary that makes us socially acceptable, what adds more restrictions to this are developed or acquired neuroses. A typical neurosis can be “what will they (family, friends, colleagues) think of me if I fail? What will I think and how will I feel if I fail in front of them? So what happens is the person with this neurosis may not even attempt some desired goals because of the fear of failure. In effect they are not going to live up to their potential.
It is rare for anyone to escape childhood without a neurosis or two. Indeed maybe they are a healthy part of living life. On the other hand what would happen and how would we be if we didn’t have them? Could we be responsible and also live our life to the full? Could we still empathise and be able to not to worry whether we failed in front of others?
The good news is that even the most successfully people in the world can have empathy and be responsible. These aspects of personality are not mutually exclusive.
So how do we overcome a neurosis that limits our life and may prevent us living a great life? It all begins with acceptance. Many people deny they have a fear or anxiety about some thing. Many people have developed great skills are avoiding facing their neurosis. For the person with a fear of public speaking, their avoidance strategies might be never accepting a job that requires this, going sick on the day they were meant to provide some training or even resigning their post because they had to give a presentation.
Acceptance is the beginning of changing something. Only through acceptance is someone likely to decide to do something about their neurosis and take the first steps to resolving it. It can help to know that any issue or problem you have is highly unlikely to be individual to you. In other words other people will also have suffered from the same issue and will have found a way of resolving it so that it no longer limits their life.
There are many forms of help available. Coaching, counselling, psychotherapy or in the example above, public speaking courses all offer expert help and support to encourage change. Hypnosis in London is also a popular option for many people and is considered a brief form of help.
Resolving our neuroses through acceptance and support such as hypnotherapy leads to personal growth. We discover more about ourselves. This particular brake to self-actualisation then is pressed less often. In fact what was once considered a weakness may change into a strength which for anyone can bring a great feeling of empowerment.