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When I think about the plans I had when I was younger I can see that some things have turned out as I expected them to, whereas others have taken a completely different turn.  Some goals are ones I have achieved, whereas others remain elusive and may well remain that way forever.  Do you ever think back to how you envisaged things would turn out, and then think about how things are perhaps a lot different from what you thought they'd be?


I would say that it’s good to plan, as otherwise our chances of reaching our goals could be quite slim.  If you want to be a medical doctor, for example, you'd better study medicine at university, not English literature!  Knowing what we are aiming for, and then working out how we are going to get there, is a useful approach.  But what when a spanner gets thrown into the works, and life deals you a card that you were not at all expecting?  Our reaction to this turn of events is crucial if we are to maintain our wellbeing and equilibrium, I would argue.


I think that it is always wise to have a 'plan B', even if you never think you're going to need to make use of it.  No matter how much we invest in one particular path, sometimes the road ahead may twist and turn and send us off on a completely different tangent.  Resilience - the ability to get back up and not be too personally diminished in the face of difficulty - is something that can be very valuable when things don't go as we thought they would.  Knowing how to stare circumstances in the face, brush off defeat and re-evaluate the way forward is vital if we are to thrive no matter what life sends our way.


Sometimes I work with clients who have difficulty in letting go.  They may even have thought out a very viable 'plan B', yet if they are stuck pursing plan A, they may find living out the backup strategy difficult.  What I sometimes work on with clients is building up their ability to recognise that their original ideas need putting to one side, and the reality of the situation acknowledging, so that they can move through their current difficulties and not bang their head against them unnecessarily.  One thing always touches me in such a situation; that when a client has learnt to let go of how they thought things might go, they often find an unexpected happiness and sense of purpose in their new path, even though it may be 180 degrees different to their original route.  Very often clients learn that relinquishing their plan A in this instance and embracing an alternative can mean that when faced with future difficulties they can more quickly adapt to how things are, instead of hankering after how they wanted things to be.


If you are currently wondering what happened to your original plan, and thinking hard about what to do next, could you benefit from a rethink, and a little loosening of your grip?  After all, plan B need not be any worse, just different.



Rob Oglesby MBACP (Accred) B.A. (Hons) BSc | 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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Plan B – Letting Go

Plan B – Letting Go | Ashwood Therapy Blog