“If you change anything today, what would it be?”
If you had a magic wand, what is the one thing that you would wish for? Or asked another way, if you could change one thing today, what would you change? This is a common type of question, known as “the miracle question,” that is used in counseling.
It can be extremely effective when used in conjunction with specific steps to figure out if you really want what you “think” you want. This is an extremely useful process that can shine a light on the reasons you might be self-sabotaging (wanting that thing…and then sabotaging it either before you get it or after you have achieved it).
Here are the four steps with two examples of how I use them in my life:
1. Speaking the Dream…Literally.
For many, it’s “I wish I was skinnier; I wish I was in a relationship; I wish I was rich; I wish I had a different job, etc.).
My Literal Dream(s): “I wish I lived in Hawaii” and “I wish I was more fit.”
2. Determine the Metaphoric Meaning to your Wish.
Find the deeper meaning for your literal wish. To do this, you can ask yourself, “What would it mean if I were (skinnier, in a relationship, rich, etc.”) For example, “If I were in a relationship, I would feel lovable, not alone, worthy, and connected.” This can illuminate areas where you are looking to an external source to essentially “fill up” a part of you that “feels empty.”
My Metaphoric Meaning(s): Living in Hawaii would mean that I was more peaceful, content, relaxed, and successful (it’s what Hawaii represents to me).
Being more fit would mean that I was healthier; more balanced, less stress, and looked better. The deeper meaning is that I would have less fear about being in pain and having illness, as I get older (as I’ve witnessed in other family members).
3. Determine the Positive and Negative Consequences of the Wish.
I love this step, as it is great for illuminating why you might not really want the “thing” that you think you want. For example, to be in a relationship means that you give up some of your independence; to be skinnier means that you might get some unwanted attention; to be rich might mean that you have to work harder, that family members and friends want support, and that you have to pay more taxes. These unwanted negative consequences are what subconsciously sideswipe our dreams.
After determining the positive and negative consequences, you then have to decide if you’re willing to accept all of them. If you aren’t, then you will most likely sabotage your dream.
Positives: Sunshine, relaxation, casual lifestyle, beaches, beautiful island.
Negatives: Paco (my dog) would have to go into quarantine, would be confused and would go through abandonment issues again (he’s a rescue); the cost of living; and leaving family and friends in Southern California.
Hawaii willing to accept? No (not the changes Paco would endure).
Getting Fit —
Positives: Healthy, more energy, look better, feel better, etc.
Negatives: Sore muscles, time commitment, and then the deeper meaning: Being unfit gives me a deflection from something (unconscious) deeper that I don’t see. If I get fit, that “hidden” thing will probably surface (trust me…I know it will).
Getting fit willing to accept? Yes
4. Get Creative about your Dream.
This step is where you tap into the creative aspects of your dream. You can journal about what you want it to look like; you can create art around the images that you envision your dream to represent; ask your future self how he or she will feel about you going through what you are today to get there; you can do one thing that will take you in the direction of your dream.
After discovering that I’m not willing to accept the consequences (for today) of moving to Hawaii, I now understand why I have been sabotaging my dream of moving back there.
Getting fit: I asked my future self what she would say to my current self and she said, “thank you for caring enough about yourself today to put the necessary effort toward having a healthier future life.”
Lastly, “the world is your oyster.”
I believe you have all of the capabilities to get whatever you desire.
The key is finding it within yourself and then you’ll be able to realize it externally. If you want to be rich, find the riches within You. If you want a relationship, have a quality relationship with You. Find that “thing” that is holding You back from realizing your magic wish.
My “magic wish” for you is that you get where you’re going with peace, self-compassion, and with an intrinsic knowing that your dream is already living within you. It really is.