Caring for the Self
A Need that Must be Added to Our Daily Bucket List
by Anna Chandy
The trends are changing in India and along with the change, our needs and priorities are also changing.
The changes and needs are so obvious to some, yet a large number of Indians seem oblivious to some of the prerequisites for a satisfying life. The new age Indian seems to be chasing material possessions – which are of course a requirement. But they do not seem to take a breath, pause, and ask themselves a question, “How much is enough?”
I started my career as a therapist in the field of mental health eighteen years ago. At that time, the number of individuals, families and children that needed psychological help was minimal. Today, each day is packed with individuals, families and children requiring psychological support. From a career perspective, this makes me a successful professional- however, from a social perspective, I sometimes wonder.
The individual in today’s world does not take into cognisance the importance of emotional well-being. In fact emotional well-being is one of the foremost essential prerequisites to be successful, driven, motivated to fulfil dreams and goals, and simultaneously, to lead a satisfying family life.
The generalised assumption is that if the family and the individual are provided with two or three homes, good bank balances, extensive globe travel and holidays and a luxurious life style, “Everybody will be happy.”. However, in my practice and experience, this has not proven true.
I have been systematically making a mental note and collating data on the number of individuals and/or partners in a relationship, who are not content because they don’t feel a sense of emotional well-being. One common theme that seems to be a core issue, is that their partner lacks sexual drive.
In society, this person is considered a high achiever, very successful and a good provider. The reality is that they are unaware that their partner is dissatisfied, lacks contentment and is searching for other avenues to fulfil these needs. The partner is fully aware of the consequences of getting involved in an alternative relationship – can be the possible breakdown of family systems, immense emotional turmoil, guilt, anger and being viewed as having weak morals by society. Yet, because of an unsatisfied sexual life, they are willing to break existing cultural and social values and beliefs. Sex is also a need for emotional well-being.
Seema (name changed) comes to therapy to share her sadness, sense of rejection and discontentment. “My husband Santosh is only interested in making money, he says it’s for the family … he keeps long hours at work, or is travelling. When he is at home, he is on the laptop. He has no time for me, or the children. I am only 35 years old. I have told him so many times that I too, work, we don’t need so much money. He does not pay attention.”.
How will Santosh have energy or time? Every human being has only a certain amount of psychological energy. If that energy is invested only in one particular direction, what will happen? He will be burnt out and this affects the family system. Of late, several women have been coming to me with the same core issue.
It is so vital for individuals to take a pause, reflect, introspect and rejuvenate ourselves periodically and systematically, in order to lead a holistic satisfying life. As a therapist, I continue on my mission to work in prevention, rather than cure. I encourage individuals to take a breath, a pause and look within.