Psychology for Living

Gwen Randall-Young
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Healthy versus unhealthy wishes

How many times have you made a wish before you blew out your birthday candles?Do you remember any of the things you wished for?Did any of those wishes come true? I cannot remember any of mine specifically.I do know that I decided such a wish should not be wasted on material things, so I always wished for things like health and happiness.

I have many blessings to count, and will never know if those wishes had anything to do with it.Those were healthy wishes though.The kind that you make and then forget about.You just release them without expectation.

Unhealthy wishes are the ones that are really complaints in disguise.A wish for lottery winnings, to be taller or shorter, or have a different face contains the unspoken belief that these things would make us happier.We cannot really be happy, we reason, because we have not been blessed enough with skills, talents or attributes.

Many people waste precious present moments wishing they were someplace or somewhere else!The true blessings of life are things we often take for granted.Not being in pain is near the top of the list.Being able to see, to hear, to walk and talk are gifts beyond measure.The ability to get a good night’s sleep is a luxury for some.Freedom from the struggles of war and hunger would be heaven to many in this world. If we have these blessings why would we disturb our inherent potential for the experience of joy by focusing on what we decide is “missing” from our lives?

This is not to negate positive processes of dreaming, setting goals and manifesting.These processes work best, however, upon a foundation of deep appreciation and gratitude for the many blessings we already have. So my birthday wish this year will be again for the health and happiness.Not just for me, but for you too.

Gwen Randall-Young is an author and award-winning psychotherapist.For permission to reprint this article, or to obtain books or CDs, visit

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