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What Do You Want Most in Life?
I spend my days listening to what clients want. Sadly, I rarely hear them sharing wanting to be mentally healthy above all else. That is what I want for myself and for all of you.
Setting a goal to achieve as much mental health as you can means that you may need to sacrifice other, lesser goals. This doesn’t mean they’re not worthwhile pursuits. It means that their exclusive pursuit may be what’s holding you back from growing mentally healthier. In and of themselves, there’s nothing wrong with desiring them. But they’re not the whole shebang is what we want to strive for.
Here are some goals that dysregulated eaters and clients say they want:
- To be heard and seen. To be sure, this is an admirable, very human goal. Who
wishes to go through life feeling that you don’t matter and aren’t worth a whit? However, it’s important to assess whether wanting to matter to others has become so important that it has become the point of your life above all others.
- To be loved and valued. It’s natural to want people to love and appreciate you. Who
doesn’t? But if what we do to feel loved and valued isn’t done with mental health in mind, we’re headed for trouble. We become so busy looking outward that we forget that loving and valuing ourselves is where it’s at no matter what anyone else thinks.
- To belong. Wishing for inclusion is deeply human, a desire that might even be hard-
wired into our DNA. It’s healthy to seek out friends and to want to feel part of a group. But the downside of this pursuit is forgetting to ask if the group you want to belong to is mentally healthy and will make you more so. If you want to belong more than anything else, you might easily end up in mentally unhealthy situations.
- To be secure. If you weren’t emotionally or financially secure in childhood, you might
seek security and certainty in adulthood. You go after the sure thing, aim for what’s right, at all costs don’t want to feel insecure or wobbly about life or the future. The problem here is that we can’t only feel secure in life. Uncertainty and a bit of physical and emotional aimless wandering is simply part of being.
- To never suffer. Of course, humans dislike suffering. But we need to face that we
can’t avoid it and sometimes even benefit from it. For every moment life is easy, there are many more that are difficult. Avoiding one kind of suffering is sure to lead to another kind. Mental health includes neither running from suffering nor courting pain. If you’ve made up your mind that you won’t suffer, you’ll never attain mental health.
Consider if you’ve been so gung-ho on pursuing any of the above that you sacrifice your overall mental health. If so, decide what mental health means and make that your goal.