Paul Cockayne – 07791 970406 – email@example.com
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If you’re going out for a walk, do you go prepared? Do you know were you’re going – do you have a map and a compass, and a destination in mind? Or do you like to follow your nose? If you’re in an unknown area, do you happily just put one foot in front of the other, treating each step as a part of an adventure, without worrying about where you might be in a hour?
Some of us value safety and security, others like the unexpected, a sense of danger perhaps. Is it important to you to have a plan in life? Some people like to know where they’re going, to have things mapped out. Others are more content to see what comes up, to follow whatever path seems right to them at the time.
It is not unusual for people who love to plan to come to counselling at a time when their plan’s been destroyed. Quite often, they will have had a life plan since they were a child. They have always known what career they want, they have expected to meet Mr or Mrs Right, to have children – these things they have known since the age of 8, and they have worked towards them and everything has fitted in with the plan until…..
…maybe you always wanted to join the army but found you were unfit. (I am reminded of the Peter Cook / Dudley Moore sketch “One Leg Too Few”). Maybe that dream relationship turns into a nightmare. Maybe you and your partner, for whatever reason, are unable to have children.
All sorts of things might go wrong with that life plan, whatever it may be. Plans concocted by 8-year-olds are unlikely to take practicability into account, of course. But if you are a meticulous planner, if you have everything mapped out, it can be a terrible shock to find that things aren’t going to work out the way you thought they would. You have gone on your walk, with map and compass, only to find that the map doesn’t match the terrain, that the compass doesn’t work, that you are hopelessly lost.
At might seem that there is less opportunity for disappointment if you don’t make plans. If you don’t know where you are trying to get to, it doesn’t matter if you don’t get there, does it?
Unfortunately things are not always rosy for these people either. When they come to counselling, they’ll often say things like “I don’t know what I want, but it’s not this”. They can find themselves overwhelmed by a feeling that things are not right for them – without having any idea of how to put things right. They are every bit as lost as the planner, in strange an unknown territory, without any means of getting to safety, or even, in their case, of knowing what safety might look like if they found it.
In such situations, panic can easily set in, but unfortunately that tends to make things worse – rash decisions, running round in circles, expending energy, getting nowhere. Better to sit and take stock, to let things settle. And counselling can help, of course, by helping you make a new plan, or a first plan, or by helping you to find a way to live happily without any plan whatsoever.