Important vs. Useful

When you say something is Important, it means that it is necessary, that without it you will come to great harm or death. It starts with a capital letter and has an implied underline.

What in your life do you nonchalantly refer to as Important? Is it important that your spouse pay attention to you when you’re talking? Is it important that you exercise in the morning? Is it important that you pay your bills on time? And if these things don’t happen – as life is so often wont to not do as we would prefer – what happens then? Do things fall apart? Does the earth shatter because your spouse was preoccupied, your morning routine was disrupted, or you forgot to pay a bill that was due when it was due? Certainly not, but there is an implied sense of failure when something important does not get accomplished.

Of course, it would be useful or practical if those things were true; but herein lies the difference. If we think of things as practical or useful, certainly there is an implied desire, but no emphasis on need. Desire all you like, but when you depend on some facet for your happiness, you will surely be disappointed time and again.

When you talk to yourself, ask if something is useful, say it’s useful (if it is), and pursue that which is useful/practical/beneficial to your life. When therapists talk to clients, we find out what is useful to them and light with appeal that which is useful/practical/beneficial so they can pursue it with ease. But throw out Important with all it’s negative weight of “should” and “must” and “have to” that is so quietly implied behind that silent capital letter.

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on Twitter & Facebook.

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