I cannot even remember how many people called my office, made the first contact, sometimes the first appointment and never showed up… I cannot remember how many quit after a couple of sessions. I stopped counting, but I have noticed a pattern.
Everybody wants to be happy, everybody wants a better life, a better relationship, better communication, better everything… Everybody wants change. Not everybody, however, is willing to do something to bring that change. Especially if it requires some work to do or some sacrifices to endure.
People who come to my office usually are very enthusiastic about telling me their life stories, their misfortunes, bad luck, and the shortcomings or ill doings of others. Some know exactly what others should do, what their expectations are, what would make them happy again. Some take responsibility for own actions, admit guilt, embarrassment and intent to change things around.
Then comes the question: what are you going to do about it?
The answer to this question is usually what makes people quit or lose the interest in counselling altogether.
Everybody wants an amazing body and great health. Not everybody wants to eat good nutritious food and exercise every day. Not everybody is willing to say “no” to delicious cake or a huge bag of popcorn, beer, and an exciting computer games night. It is so much easier to accept the instant gratification than some not so sure, distant promise at the end of hard work and giving-ups.
Everybody wants to have a good income, nice house, car, and exotic vacation every year. Not everybody is willing to work hard and save the money for the house, car and exotic vacation…
Maintaining the status quo is much easier than trying something new. When you try to change things, you only know what are you going to lose. You don’t know yet what you may gain. You grieve things before they even start disappearing from your life. Sometimes just a thought of losing them makes you paralyzed and keeps you from trying. You may lose your focus, you may completely forget what made you wanting some change in the first place.
Different things motivate different people
When I first started counselling, I believed that people who came to my office spending money and time really wanted to work hard and change things around.
I still think they have the best intentions. The best intentions, however, are not enough; you need the willingness to act.
There are people, who enthusiastically take on any challenge I throw at them, and move forward fast. They not always do things “right”, but they try, fail, try a different approach, do it over and over again. Usually, they are surprised with the outcomes or their own abilities.
So, the real question to you, before you start any work, is: how much are you willing to sacrifice?
How much are you willing to do? What are you really willing to struggle for?
If the answer is “not much” or “I don’t know”, don’t bother. Don’t waste your time and energy. The simple act of coming to counselling doesn’t mean anything at all. It is your willingness and your hard work that makes a difference.