When I ask you what do your “numbers” mean, what comes to mind? Your age? Weight? Financials? Years married? Years divorced? Age of your kids? May I add another number for your consideration – HAPPINESS.
As part of my intake when I first meet with a person for counseling I ask the following questions and request that they answer with a number from one to ten on the “happiness scale”. Ten is “heavenly bliss”, zero is the “pits”. The reason I start with numbers is that various people can say a word and it means one thing to them and may mean something else to another. For example a person may say, “ I feel OKAY.” For one person that mean a 7, for another it may mean a 4. Big difference!
- Overall, with all aspects of your life considered, what is your rating?
- What is your happiness relative to your marriage/significant other relationship?
- What is your happiness relative to your relationship with your kids as a parent? (if applicable)
- What is your happiness relative to your sexual fulfillment?
- What is your health happiness?
- What is your financial happiness number?
- What is your happiness relative to your career/homemaker?
- What is your happiness relative to each of your parents?
- What is your happiness relative to your social life?
Then I ask if there are other important areas of their life which affect their happiness – and give it/them a score from one to ten.
These “numbers” give me a quick glimpse as to which areas of the person’s life are sources of happiness and which elicit discontent/depression. Thus, we have a running start to understand the person’s current situation. Each area then is elaborated on to further understand the depth of why such a number comes to mind.
Most people do not reflect often or very deeply as to how happy they are. At best they know how they are feeling on a given day, usually described as a good or bad mood or day. My challenge is to find the underlying sources of their happiness to help them appreciate and enjoy the good “stuff” and work to eradicate the bad “stuff” that brings down their happiness “numbers”.
The “numbers” questions help people to listen to their “gut” as to how happy they are at this stage of their life. Some people’s first answers tend to be higher than they really are because of the defense mechanisms of denial and delusion. These folks want to believe they are in a better place than they really are so that they do not have to feel the pain that exists and deal with the core issues related to such unhappiness.
So, Respected Reader, would you mind answering these questions and give an honest “number” as to how happy you are in each of the areas, as well as your overall happiness number. You may want to discuss these numbers with someone close to you, as well as asking them what their “numbers” are. Could lead to some interesting insights, communication, and steps forward to raise the “numbers”!
“The unexamined life is not worth living” Socrates