Here in the U.K. the Chancellor of the Exchequer has just released this year’s budget, the setting out of where the nation is going to spend money over the next 12 months, and where it is going to raise that money from. There have been some people approving of the budget plans, some disapproving, and some who don’t really have a strong opinion either way.
ROBBING PETER TO PAY PAUL
The common phrase ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’ is sometimes seen as quite a negative one, referring as it does to depriving one person to pay off another. I would be tempted to argue, however, that perhaps the phrase can also make reference to the shifting of resources from one area to another, whether they be financial resources, resources of time or resources of energy. After all, these three things are in limited supply for each one of us.
BALANCED WAY OF LIVING
As a therapist, I often feel that when someone seeks assistance with a wellbeing issue, what they are looking for is a more balanced way of living. Their emotions are perhaps mainly at one end of the scale, or they may be struggling with an unhelpful addiction to one particular thing which has led to an unhealthy imbalance. Gaining that middle ground is a key aim.
CIRCLES WITHIN CIRCLES
Sometimes I will work with a client to raise their awareness of where they are spending their limited resources of time or energy, as often they are unaware of why they feel so out of kilter. A visual representation of how much they give to each aspect of living can be very helpful, and so I use an exercise designed to produce just that. Large circles full of smaller rings, one inside the other, can be labelled ‘family’, ‘work’, ‘my time’, and ‘physical exercise’, etc. Using circles on a sheet of paper or on an online equivalent, I ask the client to colour them in from the centre to show how much attention they feel that particular circle is getting. The more a circle is shaded in, the more attention it is currently receiving. Once the exercise is complete, it is clearer where resources are being concentrated. The circle diagram is helpful as it allows us to look at where a ring can be taken from one area to give to another. In practice, this may mean looking at where time or money can be re-purposed from one place to a neighbouring concern, with the goal being greater balance across the client’s life as a whole.
BALANCE THE BOOKS
One of the aims of Chancellors past and present is to ‘balance the books’. They recognise that to have a balanced economy is the financial equivalent of not having ‘all your eggs in one basket’, to use another popular phrase. In our own lives, if everything rests on one area – one circle – are we not more vulnerable to things going wrong? If work is everything to us, what would we be if we lost our job? Balancing the books in terms of personal wellbeing can help lead to a more steady, grounded and fulfilling life. Surely that’s a worthwhile goal for any of us?
~ Rob Oglesby MBACP B.A. (Hons) BSc | Ashwood Therapy
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