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Are You Settling for the Consolation Prize?

 What one really needs is not Nobel laureates but love. How do you think one gets to be a Nobel laureate? Wanting love, that’s how. Wanting it so bad one works all the time and ends up a Nobel laureate. It’s a consolation prize. What matters is love. ~Dr. George Wald is a Harvard biologist who won a Nobel Peace prize.

 Linda: I have a game that I play with myself where I time travel in my imagination to when I am an old, wise woman.

I have been playing this game for decades. I imagine that I am in my nineties. I see my body bent over, leaning on a cane, but my mind is sharp. I have accumulated wisdom because I have paid attention during my long full life. This old woman part of me counsels my present day self. I totally trust her and take her advice.

She frequently says things like: “Don’t settle! Go after what you really want. Know what has heart and meaning for you and pursue it with all you’ve got. If romantic love with your partner is what you’re after, go for it! If it’s love exchanged with your children and grandchildren, have at it; love with your friends, work, writing dance, travel, contribution, enjoy it all! Reach high, but know what is most important to you, what means the most to you. And then give of your time and attention to that. Don’t get distracted and sidetracked. If you want to become a great lover, you will need to learn to speak with the voice of love. It’s a worthy endeavor you know.”

She always speaks to me in a light-hearted way, never harsh or judgmental. She has a glint in her eye, and laughs with me if I take myself too seriously. I experience both her love for me, and her strong confidence that I will be successful. She’s like the compassionate grandmother I never knew in real life, but that I have always longed for. She loves me passionately and delights in supporting my journey.

I offer you my guided visualization to find the wise elder within yourself, to provide you counsel if you might find it helpful. But if you want to meditate on the question, “What has greatest meaning for me?” Or if want to pray about it, or journal into the question, there are a variety of ways to access our inner-truth.

The most important part of the exercise is to tell ourselves the truth about what is most important to us and to see if we are living in accordance with that truth.

So many people say that love is of utmost importance to them, but neglect their closest relationships, chasing after status, power, money, awards, and degrees rather than that which will bring the greatest happiness, satisfaction and well-being.

So what do you find when you live in the question? Are you settling for a consolation prize, or are you seeking that which is the real thing for you?


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Are You Settling for the Consolation Prize?

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APA Reference
Bloom, L. (2018). Are You Settling for the Consolation Prize?. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 16, 2019, from


Last updated: 23 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 23 Aug 2018
Published on All rights reserved.