I want a lot of things in my life right now.
In January, I left my home of 13 years (New York City) to start a new chapter of my life in the Bay (San Francisco). And even though I enjoy daily bike rides, I want a car now.
Two weeks ago, I was days away from finally finishing my undergraduate degree after a looooong break. I wanted my papers to write themselves and an “A” on all my finals. Guaranteed. Well, I didn’t get the “A” put I passed. My degree was in my hand for 3 seconds before I thought: I want a full time job. Now. Why hasn’t anyone called me? (Feels so ungrateful to admit that! 3 seconds?)
I want to sleep in every morning. A practice full of clients I enjoy. Bikram yoga everyday. A West African dance class I love. Mastery over samba. And a passionate partnership with a man who can match my inner goddess with his inner god. I want to work from home. Money overflowing in my bank account. The flexibility to chaperone field trips with my son’s class. (Without getting permission from a supervisor). And the time (and energy) to finally learn to crotchet a dress. And…I want it now.
I’ve always wanted more in life. No matter how happy I am with where my life is, new desires always crop up and pull me along this journey called life. The trick I’ve learned (after a debilitating duet with depression) is that enjoying the journey entails having the wisdom to know when to accept the things you can’t change and when to bravely take action to control the things you can.
What can you change?
There are basically 4 things that prevent you from having what you want:
- not knowing what you want
- not realizing you really want something else more
- not believing you can have it
- not knowing how to get it
Knowing what you want
I’m fascinated by GPS. It’s amazing how it calculates where you are, helps you locate yourself, then shows you how to get to where you want to go once you put in the address.
The first step in getting what you want is telling yourself the truth about where you are now. Then getting really clear about where you want to go. And putting in the address.
Each time I’ve fallen in love, I was clear I’d found the man I was going to marry, have babies with and get grey on. And each time I held on too tightly, for too long after it became clear the relationship was no good for me.
Many heartbreaks and sleepless nights brought me the realization that what I wanted wasn’t these men; what I really wanted was the life I thought I’d have with them. The security, love, acceptance, passion, excitement, satisfaction I had pinned onto these relationships is something I had forgotten I was responsible for creating for myself. As long as I tied having these things to someone else, I was setting myself up to be a powerless victim who could only be happy when he called or be in denial when he cheated.
A lot of the things we think we want aren’t really what we want. You don’t really want a million dollars. What you really want is freedom to live your life without feeling limited. And of course the million dollars would be great too.
Think about a goal that you have. Then ask yourself, why do you want it? And why do you want that? And how will that make you feel? Bingo! That’s what you really want. At the root of all your goals, is a desire to feel a certain way. When you get clear on this feeling, you get hold on one thing you can control in the situation. How you’re going to feel.
So in my relationship, I started asking myself, what makes me feel secure, loved, accepted, passionate, excited, satisfied? Music, dancing, making stuff with my hands, spending time with my son, writing, reading, eating good food…You get the picture. Doing these things while I was in my last relationship relationship, gave me the strength to sadly walk away from the man I thought I wanted and the drama I knew I didn’t. It put me back in the driver’s seat.
Not realizing you want something else more
Sometimes I lie to myself. I say I want a life partner when what I really want is to fantasize about the intimacy I could be enjoying if my man would only get over his fear of commitment. The truth is I’m just as afraid of intimacy and prefer the security of not having to risk my heart and not having to feel the hurt of not getting what I want.
Or I say I want a job with benefits when what I really want is to work for myself. The truth is I’m afraid to risk selling my services and discovering no one will want to buy from me. I don’t really want to work for someone else right now. (No surprise no one’s calling!)
Sometimes what we’re afraid of outweighs what we say we want. So we exhaust ourselves running round in circles then get to give up and say: “Well I gave it my all and it just wasn’t meant to be.”
Maybe we’re always getting exactly what it is we want more?
Not believing you can have it
The sneakiest thing about beliefs is that they’re invisible but they show up in the circumstances and environment around you. So you can feel their presence but you can’t see them. Until you look. Inside.
Sometimes the only thing between having you want and living in limbo is the belief that you can have it. Some bold entrepreneurs can find a new client in 24 hours with no list, no website and no brochure. Others feel that their website design isn’t up to par, so they hold back on retweeting their latest blog post and put their business on hold.
We live in the age of information overload. You can literally find out how to do anything (with a little resourcefulness and a whole bunch of time) online. So how can we not not know how to get what we want?
Because it’s easy to be overwhelmed! There are so many “shoulds” and “gurus” out there, we forget that we’re the only expert in our life. At the end of the day, we have to sort through all the valuable information we receive and decide what makes the most sense for us.
And we’re afraid to do this. We’re afraid of making mistakes. Of looking bad. Of failing publicly. So we try on the latest step-by-step secret formula even though it’s a couple sizes too big in the waist and doesn’t give our hips enough breathing room.
The only secret to how we get what we want is that we have to learn to trust ourselves. We have to ruthlessly sift through all the good stuff and pick out what suits us and our goals. We have to trust our GPS and know that if we miss our turn, it will faithfully re-route us so we end up where we want to go. Even if it means taking the scenic route. We can still crank up the music and enjoy the ride.
Share in the comments what’s been stopping you from getting what you really want.