One concept that I always introduce in therapy is examining what you believe about the world and what you value. In order for you to change any aspect of your life, you have to look at the framework that keeps it in place. Although often unseen, you have rules that shape your decision making process.
At first it is really hard to think about “what do I value”? I mean, most of us would agree that there are some basic principles we as humans should follow – don’t murder or steal, be a good person, treat others kindly – but what are the rules we hold about emotions?
What is our hierarchy of values – and when they clash – which ones win out? Loyalty? Perseverance? Family? Individuality? Religion? Spirituality? Being nice to some stranger passing you on the street?
The disconnect comes when we use vague terms to talk about very deep, and real, things. We usually don’t take that soul-searching time to figure out our values, but really we need to. We need to know for ourselves and we need to be able to communicate that to those around us. If we don’t, we’re forever going to be stuck in this “I am not getting what I need” space.