After working with people for over 10 years, I have found that what happens to us is not as important as how we process what has happened. As children our parents and other adults tell us white-lies or keep secrets from us in order to protect us. This creates confusion between what we feel inside in response to a given experience and what we are being told on the outside. A struggle between keeping ourselves safe and letting ourselves be vulnerable, so we can love, occurs. This dichotomy leads to not trusting our reactions and feelings and therefore looking to others for validation and approval.

Paradoxically, while you are looking for other people to validate and approve of you, they are looking to you for the same validation and approval. This is a viscous cycle since most of us have not learned how to validate ourselves and therefore we can not validate others. The only solution to this is to learn self- validation. This requires taking a good, hard, honest look at who you are and how you have processed (or not) what has happened to you. "They" say that "love is blind", and they are right and the rest of your emotions are blind too! Since we are emotionally involved in our own life, we are not the most objective person to help take this hard honest look at ourself. Fear, poor boundaries and low self- esteem become our filters and this is the biggest challenge to self-help, since it (the self) lacks objectivity and clarity. That is how coaching can help you make desired changes that feel just out of reach.

A coach can provide that objectivity. A coach reflects back the distortions and discrepancies based on perceptions a person has learned to help them negotiate the world. Once you are able to get that clarity, discover your own potential and validate yourself, the world becomes an exciting playground. The fear, confusion and emptiness dries up as you learn to validate and approve of your own choices, goals and desires. From here all else flows. Becoming a better "you" does not take anything from other people, in fact, just the opposite is true. The better you are, the better person you bring to all your relationships.

Author's Bio: 

Jean Kadkhodaian, MA, CH, Rev., is the Clinical Director at The Lighthouse Emotional Wellness Center, located in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Although The Lighthouse is the midwest's premiere center of its kind, offering a wide variety of emotional wellness services to its clientele, Jean and her husband primarily work with couples seeking happiness and satisfaction in life and relationships. You can reach Jean directly by emailing her at