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If you were asked what you wanted most in life - what you are actively working to secure for yourself - what would it be?  A promotion at work?  A higher salary?  A four-bedroom detached house in place of the two-bed flat you have at the moment?  Perhaps that all-inclusive luxury holiday, or that waistline that you've been working hard for at the gym?  These things are desirable, and motivate many people to overcome obstacles in their way in order to achieve them.  We often want to know that we are progressing in our lives, and that the sacrifices we are making to move forward are worth it in terms of the rewards gained at the end.

In my counselling work at a hospice for terminally-ill children and young people, it seems that the things outlined above are often much further down the list for the mums, dads, grandparents and siblings who seek out therapy and the emotional support it provides.  Much more fundamental desires are spoken of in those counselling sessions; the health and future wellness of the child admitted to the hospice naturally being the primary concern.  If a child has passed away, often a parent will speak of how they would give anything to have one last day with their son or daughter, to simply spend an hour playing a ball game at the park with their little boy or little girl.  Speaking to those affected by the serious illness of a child sometimes leaves me wondering why we are often tempted to take what we have for granted, and therefore neglect the fact that nothing in this life is guaranteed.  I wonder how many of our goals we would still feel it worthwhile to pursue if we were told we or someone dear to us only had one year left to live?

If we align what we want and are working towards with what is truly important in our lives, I would suggest that we are more likely to feel fulfilled and satisfied.  That fast car or expensive wardrobe pale into insignificance when our health is threatened or when a valued relationship is in jeopardy, and so shouldn't we move the latter higher up our list of priorities, and see to the former as and when we can?  Meaningful connections with others require time and effort to be invested in two-way relationships, yet give much more back to us than expensive phones or well-furnished, colour-coordinated apartments can.

When a crisis hits, we are often prompted to reassess what is important.  If you have experienced one recently, perhaps you can identify with this.  How would it be to reassess now, regardless of whether or not disaster has struck?  What changes would you make to the time you spend and the activities you are so heavily engaged in pursuing?  Changing priorities can be quite a task, yet clients frequently report that the rewards of a happier, more balanced and more realistic life are usually very much worth it.

Rob Oglesby B.A. (Hons) BSc MBACP (Accred) | Ashwood Therapy

Ashwood Therapy provides a discreet, confidential and professional online counselling service by encrypted video call, live instant messaging and secure email.  More details, including tips on wellbeing and information on current counselling session pricing, can be found at www.ashwoodtherapy.com

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What Do You Really Want?

A Matter of Priorities

What Do You Really Want? | Ashwood Therapy Wellbeing Blog