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As an adult I try to perform my different roles at a high standard, which sometimes may not be the most realistic. It is very easy to lose touch with the present and to work hard for a better future so as to improve on one’s situation. At times this may mean that one doesn’t fully experience what is going on with life or within oneself and there may be many missed opportunities, especially with regards to relating with others. The belief that there is always something more that you can do; something better to achieve and improve on; the fear of not being good enough or not doing enough. This may stem from a number of factors and I feel this both on a personal level, and also as a resonance to what many clients bring in to therapy.

As a parent I try to encourage my son to work towards his goals by keeping an eye on his future. However, if I could leave my son uninterrupted for a stretch of time, he would simply play by tapping into his imagination and have such a relaxed pace for anything that he needs to face! I feel myself jumping on the chair when he takes so long to chew his food… to put on his clothes and get himself ready… to finish his chores through bouts of singing and dancing. The urge is always to rush him. However, I stop myself on many occasions and reflect on how he views life differently. For him the present is what is important. Obviously as a parent I have the responsibility to provide him with all the support and opportunities so that he may have a good future. But my role is also to be present with him at this specific point in time. I feel like he has taught me so much about life, lessons that are also learned through therapy:

  1. To slow down and enjoy what you are doing, even if it’s a task, you don’t need to make a race out of everything.
  2. To be in touch with oneself and become aware of the feelings being elicited, even if these may feel as an interruption from productivity.
  3. To have fun and try to focus on what you enjoy doing in life.
  4. To really live life, it is so short, and one should really try to make the most of it.

These are important lessons that I try to remind myself daily. They are also lessons that come up in my work as a Counsellor. Through becoming aware of oneself and one’s thoughts one can be better able to challenge negative and self-sabotaging patterns. In addition, awareness helps us be more in control of how we react to situations and people, which in turn leads us to be better able to employ skills to change what we consider as not functioning well and adopting better behaviours. Mindfulness is another aspect of this type of work, where we can monitor our flow of thoughts and question what may not be benefiting us and leading us to feel off balance and out of sync with what is going on around us and with our loved ones.

Thus, I encourage you to think, what makes you happy? How regularly do you come in touch with your feelings?

Abigail Church is a Humanistic Integrative Counsellor who works with adults and children through counselling with Willingness. She can be contacted on abigail@willingness.com.mt or call us on 79291817.