Today's college students face difficulties that are very different from even just a few years ago. Dealing with things such as: homesickness, sleep problems, social challenges, anxiety, depression, and new levels of stress. One of the biggest challenges, however, is navigating through relationships. Many people will have their first significant relationship in college. This is true not only for romantic relationships, but social ones as well. Therefore, this is a time where many people are exploring new grounds for themselves in relation to others. It can be a wonderful time for self- discovery, it can also be an extremely difficult time in terms of maintaining healthy self-esteem. Many people are so focused on relationships at this point in their life, that they tends to lose focus on themselves. Sometimes it can be easier to define ourselves via someone else and their opinion, than our own sense of self. To some extent, we all do this. However, there becomes a point at which this becomes unhealthy. If someone is looking for validation almost exclusively through external sources, this is an approach that is bound to fail. It is important to develop a solid internal sense of oneself in order to be able to fall back on that when we feel that others are not meeting our needs.
Therapy is a wonderful tool for strengthening your sense of self, and understanding more deeply how you relate to others. if wondering about how you fit in occupies your thoughts, or keeps you up at night, a good place to start is examining yourself more deeply. Once you have done this, the relationships that are right for you will gravitate towards you. All of the effort that you are currently expanding, will become no longer necessary. If you have questions around how therapy can help you with this, feel free to contact me.
Photo courtesy of www.youthvoices.net
Stephen Quinlan is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker who practices in Dover, NH