Dr Irvin Yalom, in Love’s Executioner, indicates that one of the most provocative questions is “what do you want?” For many, the answer is “I want out!” I feel trapped in my occupation, marriage, family, religion, culture.
Everything points to the need for change but the courage to change is lacking.

And so the endless cycle of existence continues and depression or meaninglessness results. Sometimes the substantial adjustments that change will entail frighten people; “no pain, no gain”. The mountain range appears impassable and so they slide back into inertia.

What is the answer? Change can be facilitated by counselling or supportive friends but sometimes material security holds the trump card. A person cannot leave his job if he has little chance of finding another. So the answer to the big question may not always be achievable but it may be possible to arrive at a compromise.

I may not be able to afford a cottage by the sea but I may be able to manage an annual trip to the coast? Increasing insight, practicing flexibility and employing creative thinking can bring some rewards. It may not be possible to change the whole situation but it may be quite possible to make small changes that will make the status quo more bearable.

Don’t be afraid to ask the big questions, come on “what do you want?”

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