What makes a valuable life? For far too long the main goal of healers, therapists and doctors has been to focus on what’s wrong with people in order to make them better. It’s a noble and worthy thing to do but this continued focus in the direction of illness and distress has arguably resulted a disproportionate amount of time, cost and energy being focused on the study of diseases and disease processes.
Question: Why has so little attention been given the things that make us happy and fulfilled? Where’s the stuff about human strengths or the things that make life worth living?
This is important because we know certain human qualities act as buffers against mental illness as well as promoting health and wellbeing.
Before you can embark on this journey you need to know where you’re starting from and where you want to go. Where you start from needs some degree of awareness – and as to where you’re going – well that’s a good question. Maybe the two overlap to some degree so let’s try this. My first questions for you to consider is:
What does a valuable life look like?
To help get the ball rolling I’ve prepared a download (below) for you to use. Check this now (it will open in a new tab), then print it off and follow the instructions.
Once you’ve finished log back in to continue to the next step.
Having completed this first step in awareness I’d like you to reflect upon the five most important values that you listed. Incidentally, if you’ve skipped ahead to this section without having completed the download 1 task, what follows won’t make much sense.
Think about the life you are currently leading and try to identify the issues that are preventing or blocking you from these values. In other words, identify the extent to which your life matches or is in accordance to these values. You may find it helpful to collect you thoughts and keep a written record of them.
This is a very early stage in the process of change. The temptation for you at this point may be to become frustrated over the goals you have yet to achieve. But too much focus on goals too soon isn’t helpful. Remember, this is still just about mapping out your current situation in order to build awareness.
Real and Ideal Lives
Our real lives are sometimes at odds with our ideal lives. The wider the gap between real and ideal the more frustrated and dejected we become.
This next awareness exercise is all about your real and ideal life. As before, I’d like you to download and print off the next exercise, follow the instructions and then return to the lesson.
The exercises you’ve just completed will help to begin the process of identifying the gaps between where you are and where you’d like to be. The place where you’d like to be is shaping up to what you presumably consider to be a valuable life?
I hope you enjoyed the exercise. Maybe you’d like to learn more by signing up to our ‘Making Moments – learning how to embrace life’ course? It’s free, there’s no catches, and no follow-on emails.