Sunday, August 12, 2007

Therapeutic Metaphor: North Star

While some goals are achievable, others are aspirational, meaning they can never be fully reached. Both achievable and aspirational goals are important to have in our lives. For instance, if I want to lose a certain amount of weight, this is a definitive goal that I am capable of achieving. But I also may want to be more accepting and less resentful of other people. Even though I'll never fully achieve this goal, I can judge my progress by the degree to which I keep my emotional poise, especially in challenging situations.

For centuries sailors crossed oceans using the North Star to chart their course. Although the wind and tides constantly pushed them off course, they were able to use the unwavering location of the North Star to determine how far they had drifted and to plot a return back to their destination.

You never reach the North Star, of course. It always remains unreachable, but it also always remains a beacon to guide and inspire your progress.

What is your North Star? What ideals do you use to steer your actions and attitudes? When you find yourself drifting off course, your ideals reconnect you with your proper destination. Remember the wisdom quote by Geri Larkin, “It’s never a straight line.” You will always veer off course. Don’t be discouraged by the zigzag nature of your life. Tack back to your course. Keep your eyes on your ideals. Come back. Keep going.
If you like this post (and I hope you do) please visit my primary professional website for related articles on emotional growth and development, individual and couples counseling, successful living tips, counseling, essays and observations about psychotherapy and change, recovery from sex addiction and many other interesting and useful topics.

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