I find myself often saying to my clients, "It's hard being human." This is typically during a therapy session where my client is describing to me an experience of acute distress over an aspect of their life. The client's narration about their distress is the client's attempt to not only express their distress, but to understand its cause, and to extinguish it. If only it were so simple, right? This is where it is difficult to be human. We have this complex brain and nervous system; we exist within complex relationships, and we don't come with a manual on how to operate our system.
Learning to work with our ever-changing bodies and nervous system is a challenge, but not an impossibility. It requires certain skillsets. It is a learning process, much like learning to drive or to cook.
This is where therapy can be helpful. Therapists teach these skills, and help you better understand how you think, feel and act, which helps you to have an improved understanding of your own functioning. This can be an empowering process, but it is not an easy one. Learning never is easy. Think about learning to drive. You didn't get your license after a single driving lesson. Think about learning to cook. How many times did you over cook or burn something? Does that mean you can't, or shouldn't, try again? Learning is a process, but that doesn't mean it can't be fun or exciting, even if it means it may also be a little uncomfortable. Stepping outside your comfort zone is where real learning happens, it is where we as humans grow and evolve, but it may take some extra support.
Self-help books, support groups, classes, workshops, professional development trainings and seminars, blogs, and videos (to name a few) are also resources to learn more about how to manage emotions, cope with our stress and improve our well being. Some folks are good at learning on their own, and may not need a lot of support while others may need more support and direct instruction. There is no right or wrong way, only the way that works for you.
When I say to my clients, "It's hard being human," they pause for a moment, considering this. "Yes," they agree, "it is."