Answer: we all do. But there are a lot of misconceptions out there that can get in the way of seeking help.

Only broken people need help. If you seek counseling from a psychiatrist, therapist, or life coach, you must have serious problems. People who seek this form of help have conditions like schizophrenia, PTSD, bipolar disorder, or sociopathic tendencies. These kind of people are on the outskirts of society, and the rest of us unbroken people- we should keep our distance. Lest we associate with these broken people and get ourselves ostracized, too.

The truth is everyone needs help. Everybody needs help with little things, big things, and all things in between. Each and every one of us holds a unique set of circumstances, and that collection of experiences, characteristics, relationships, hopes, goals, and fears makes us individuals. We all have some circumstances that we’re proud to share and some that we’d rather keep to ourselves. You are very uniquely you, and finding balance in your life is sometimes a difficult journey.

Most often, we look to friends and family as sounding boards for tough issues. We seek comfort, validation, and solutions from those we trust. We need that safe space to show our insecurities, to be vulnerable. Even if our confidants don’t always know the right answer or have a viable solution, it feels good to let out our emotions and have them reassure you that you’ll make it through. We all seek a sense of belonging and assimilation, and knowing that your friends and family accept you (difficulties and all) is wildly comforting.

However, there are sometimes bigger issues that you just can’t seem to shake. Friends and family can reassure you all they want, but you still have these nagging problems that hold you back from feeling happy, from feeling successful, from feeling like the best version of you. These problems make take the form of job dissatisfaction, a lack of confidence in romantic relationships, or identity struggles. Have you ever hopped from job to job seeking career fulfillment but always knew something didn’t feel quite right? Have you ever envisioned a life filled with romance but didn’t see a way to possibly make that a reality? Have you ever looked in the mirror and realized there was a distinct lack of pride and possibility?

These aren’t the kinds of struggles that are going to land you in a psychiatric hospital under lock and chain, but they are significant in their own right. They can hold you back from being happy, healthy, and self-actualized. Most importantly, they are totally normal. Everybody, literally everybody, deals with these types of issues. We aren’t born into this world with omniscience, and that means we can all use help.

Successful people need help. Up-and-comers need help. Young people need help. Older people need help. Recognizing a struggle is sometimes a hard realization, though, because it feels like we’re admitting we’re not perfect. We like being “good” at life, and the second we admit we need to work on something, there goes our reputation. Whether you’re judging yourself or anticipating others taking pity on you (or leaving you altogether), saying, “I need help” can be a scary thing. Sometimes it can even feel like you’re hitting “reset” on your life. This fear of judgment and loss of control is, much like the struggles themselves, also entirely normal. Depending on your family or local culture, things like careers, relationships, and social status can be highly defining qualities, and the last thing a struggling person wants is to feel even more vulnerable.

Ultimately, we want to feel good. To do that, we need to dedicate time and energy to helping ourselves. When friends and family fall short and personal reflection leaves you with unanswered questions, it may be time to seek help from a professional who has been trained to help you achieve your goals. Seeking professional help is not an admission of failure. It is not an admission of inadequacy or being broken. It is a realization that you are a human being with complex feelings and difficult challenges. It is not just a cry for help but rather an act of determination and courage. It shows that you care about your own well-being and that you are willing to fight for your happiness. You take this step to better understand your struggles, to learn new skills, and to empower the energy you have within.

Some people live golden lives where everything goes right the first time through. Those people are not realistic role models. So many successful people had to endure countless iterations of failure, analysis, and retrying before accomplishing their goals. The important thing to derive from this formula is that they turned every so-called failure into a learning opportunity. Every failure was one step closer to success. Every roadblock fueled their fire to push even harder towards their happiness.

Seeking professional help for your personal struggles can be part of your journey towards ultimate success. You’ve already experienced the “failure.” Now, it’s time to learn how to grow. You have the opportunity to capitalize on this opportunity and further yourself into the person you want to be. Therapists and coaches of all varieties have a common goal:  to help you achieve. To achieve understanding, to achieve confidence, to achieve a meaningful path, to achieve romance, to achieve loving yourself. Though it may still be taboo in some regards, seeking help is often one of the most rewarding choices a person can make. Because professionals understand the fear of asking for help, you can feel open to discuss your hesitations with them. Their job is to provide a safe space to examine yourself, so expressing your concerns can be a great ice breaker. It will let you understand that it’s okay to ask questions and have conversations about tough topics, and before you know it, you’ll be well on your way to addressing those things that are currently holding you back.

Do yourself a wonderful favor and check in with your feelings. If you feel like there are things you’re struggling with that can’t be overcome with a friendly conversation or by making a few simple changes, acknowledge that you need additional help. Love yourself enough to say that it’s okay to have struggles, and that it’s completely normal to feel like you need some help. Know that just because you’re not yet fulfilled and in perfect balance, that doesn’t mean you can’t achieve it with some time and perseverance.

Look into your local resources; see which professionals are available to help you achieve your goals. Set up a couple meetings and find one that’s right for you. Through this whole process, know that you are doing this for you, for the job you want, for the relationship you desire, for the look of pride you get each time you look in the mirror. This is a journey of personal development, and you have the power to overcome your challenges. You are not broken; you are human.

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