Paul Cockayne – 07791 970406 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome to my counselling blog. You can find more information about me by clicking one of the links at the top of this page
Do you ever get the feeling that there’s something missing from your life – but you don’t know what it is? Sometimes when people first come to counselling they’ll say “I had everything”, usually as a prelude to telling me how they’ve made mess of things, how they’ve ruined their “perfect” life.
But I suppose they didn’t really “have everything” or they wouldn’t have been tempted to change things. I think often these people have something undefined missing from their lives, there’s a feeling for them that there’s a gap somewhere. But because they don’t understand the gap they don’t necessarily know how to plug it. It’s like trying to fill a hole without understanding what materials to use. It’s no good trying to stop a leak by plugging the hole with tissue paper, for example.
So sometimes people make decisions that turn out to be wrong – moving house, changing jobs, ending a relationship, investing in a new business venture – all these things might be helpful in certain circumstances but not in others. Sometimes people try to fill the gap physically – by putting things into their bodies – alcohol or chocolate, for example, can be attempts to fill a gap that will inevitably only bring temporary respite.
It’s important to try to understand the gap, and it can be really useful to talk about it. Feelings can be difficult to understand, they can nag away at us, trapped inside us. Talking about them gives them more substance, more shape and makes it easier to understand them. Feelings do have logic to them, but the logic can be paradoxical, contradictory, and irrational.
When I was at school, I was a keen chess player, and I remember a piece of advice I was given then. When you’re playing a game of chess and you don’t really have a concrete plan, it can be a good idea to identify which of your pieces seems to be positioned badly, and position it somewhere better. Small changes can lead to bid improvements.
Similarly, when there’s a gap in your life, you don’t necessarily need to do anything drastic. Instead, identify something that you’re not happy with and do something small to change it. If your work lacks challenge, can you talk with your boss to see if there’s something else you could be doing? If you’re bored watching TV every evening, can you try reading a book or playing a board game?
Making small changes like this doesn’t necessarily fill that gap, but it can help you to understand the gap more. I used to have a job fixing PCs when they first started to become popular. I didn’t have too much idea of what I was doing, but by switching components one at a time I could identify the broken part by trial and error.
Similarly, if there’s a gap in your life, you can try fixing it in this way. It can take many bricks to fill a hole in a wall, buy you can only lay them one at a time.