In the 90’s there was a popular song by the artist Meatloaf. I must have heard this song a hundred times, but I only remember one lyric: I would do anything for love, but I won’t do that.
As a therapist, I often find myself having “anything but that” discussions. My clients often say things like:
I would do anything to be less anxious, but I won’t take medication.
I would do anything to spend more time with my family, but I won’t leave my job.
I would do anything to quit fighting with my spouse, but I won’t give up alcohol.
Oftentimes, that one thing that you specifically and definitely will not do is just the thing needed to realize your goal.
Let me be clear: I am not suggesting you should, or should not, do the dreaded thing. If you don’t want to quit drinking, for example, then don’t quit drinking. But I am suggesting you be more honest with yourself about your priorities. If the feeling you get from drinking alcohol is more important to you than is harmony with your spouse, then admit this to yourself. Be honest about your true priories, as evidenced by your behavior, rather than pretending to prioritize something you do not.
Once you can be truly honest about your priorities, these priorities have a way of gradually re-shuffling themselves over time. By simply shining the unflinching light of awareness on your priorities, you are ultimately inviting your healthiest priorities to make their way to the top of the stack.