Feeling out of control?

Feeling out of control?

This week we are looking at another emotional need that is vital to our mental health and wellbeing- Volition.

What is volition?

Volition is a need to feel fulfilled and exist autonomously; to feel we direct our own lives, have free choice and feel in control.

On the practical side, this means feeling valued in your job, that your opinion counts in how you perform in your day to day activities - that you have a ‘say’ in some way that is effective and listened to.

Ultimately I believe it is a sense of freedom.

I can think of many mundane jobs that could make me feel trapped and not free, but it is also about internal attitude and belief. I used to nurse at a small hospital when I first qualified, where they introduced compulsory night shifts as part of our contract. I did not do well at night shifts, and physically and mentally suffered as a consequence. I did not have a choice if I wanted to remain employed there. Part of the suffering I felt was certainly the feeling I didn’t have a choice - after all, I could cope with all night parties in my student days, and still get on with my work. I exercised the only choice I had, and ceased working there, finding a job where I didn’t have to work nights - it was a good move as I had much more freedom in setting my hours and which days I had off. My work was more valued and I was a better nurse as a result.

Is the emotional need deeper than that?

Most of my clients come because they feel they do not have control over their habits of action - especially things that seem like addictive behaviours. They feel trapped by the cycle they are in.

When we explore the cause of the addictive behaviour, there is always a large element of feeling helpless as a child. When we are dependent on adults for everything we have little control, and sometimes depending on the significant adults we feel that as well as no control, we are not important enough to be listened to, and often cannot express what we need. If those adults are not in tune with our emotional needs, too wrapped up in their own stuff, the belief comes in that this is our reality, that we have no control and no one is interested in what we have to say, or how we feel. We then continue that belief into adulthood. Our subconscious will look for patterns that confirm this belief, making it stronger and more real.

Fortunately for my clients, I help them change that core belief, setting them up as the adult who has a voice, who is significant, and who can cope with any situation that life presents to them. Then they have the ability to say goodbye to any habit or addiction.


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