The simple reason people typically choose to go to Counselling is because they don't feel happy with their lives. A feeling like something is wrong or missing somehow. In Counselling and Therapy we work with the emotional reality of the client to help them to move towards a more constructive sense of themselves typically through an acceptance of their emotions which may have been blocked in the past.
One of my favourite self therapy books I have read is 'Life Works by Amanda Ferguson' which gives the following explanation of happiness and finding happiness. p26 - 27
'Happiness lies in learning to focus on ourselves as the source and to work through our own thoughts, feelings and problems. We can then see any problems in other areas of our lives more clearly. When we're content within ourselves we are better able to create the lifestyle and relationships we want.
If we are to be happy in life it's also important to realise that we can't have everything. Society tends to promote the idea that we can - but realistically, of course, we can't. The sooner we work out what we do want and become contend with giving up the rest, we can be happy.
Generally, there are some basic things that make all of us happy. We need to feel safe and secure. We need to feel confident that we can obtain the things that we need and want from life. We need to be able to accept and like ourselves for the way we are and yet be able to identify and commit to making changes as we see fit. We need to feel a sense of belonging to society. We need to feel that there is meaning and value to our lives (Frankl, 1984). Most of us know that these things are not as simple as they might sound.'
From a colleague I was recently drawn to the idea of writing a list of what we feel brings balance in our lives then looking at what may be missing, things we may like to add etc. The concept of 'Imagineering' was discussed. It can be useful to look at what is bringing us balance and things we may like to change then think of ways we can make steps towards the life we want more. A great way to work on this is through SMART goals.
It's important to be true to yourself in this process and put yourself first and be willing to go against the grain of what society wants. In working with clients in this area I have recently found the trend interesting of couples who for whatever reasons are choosing not to be parents but with parenthood being a way societal pressure typically pulls couples. Here is a good book on the subject. It is important to be willing to stand up for your own willingness to CHOOSE and what brings YOU balance. This is a real test of our own relationship with ourselves.