Disclaimer: Apologies for the preachy tone of this article. I’m sharing some things I’ve learned. I might just be talking to myself, quite frankly.
Yesterday, I wrote about how we have two versions of our lists of desires: the list of what we think we want and the list of what we really want – which is usually buried in our subconscious. The two are not always in alignment. How do I know when my lists don’t match? By observing my actions: I really want what I am actually investing my actions into.
I know it probably sounds obvious but it took me a while to understand this much deeper than from an intellectual standpoint. It’s as if my life –or the development of my mental self – has been a backpack full to the brim. I have been unpacking this backpack (pretend the unpacking hands are my experiences) and, each time I do, the knowledge is transferred from my subconscious to my conscious(ness?). I was born with this backpack but I could not unpack it unless I actually went through some things.
One of the lessons I’ve learned during this process is that you really want what you are actually doing not necessarily what you say you want. As it applies to yesterday’s article: the people who wanted to be super rich did whatever was necessary, restructured their behaviour, shifted whole aspects of their lives in order to get there. Sometimes getting to where you want to be is a matter of strategy, particularly if you’re even remotely in an environment that can support your goals and you’re there at the right phase of your life. Some other things may simply be a matter of talent and genes but I’m not talking about those things.
I’m talking about things that we know we would have liked to have, had the opportunity to have, but somehow let that opportunity pass by. It’s fine. It’s also fine not to have wanted what you ‘should’ have wanted. I’ve come across people where this applies to children, steady careers, lovers who were perfect but just not for them, a relationship with one’s mother, fame… Success, even.
Not being in alignment with what you think you ‘should’ want tells you so much about your current situation and who you really are or what you truly struggle with. Please do not ignore it. Don’t be ashamed of it. Don’t allow yourself to sink into guilt. Don’t numb yourself until you get used to an undesirable situation. Even when what you really want seems evil, wicked and anti-social, it helps to acknowledge that you want it. That way you can deal with it. You do not have to come across as a healthy or good person if it means shutting down your real self until one day you snap and it affects a number of people’s lives. If you acknowledge that aspect now, while you still have some modicum of control over yourself, all the better for everyone –as long as one thing is understood: with acknowledgment comes responsibility.
Once you’ve seen yourself for all your different sides, you must take responsibility for everything –particularly the things that will definitely have a widespread negative impact on other people. Do something to make sure you unseat these deep psychological worms or kinks. Also, take responsibility for the things that are simply you. Things that maybe your family or culture doesn’t allow but really only truly affect you. If your parent is abusive to you – in whatever way – and it would be culturally unsound to cut ties with them, think about how cutting ties might allow you to heal and have a healthier relationship with your own children. If travelling the world instead of settling down in the corporate world is what you want to do, maybe do it. Your future self won’t understand when you someday try to explain that nobody approved of you –a grown adult – going off by yourself to explore. Yes, eventualities and worst case scenarios must be planned for but do something. If you have a complex that makes you self-sabotage or you feel uncomfortable whenever you’re successful, ask yourself what makes you feel you shouldn’t be the one to have a life of achievement and good things. Why should you always be right there with everyone who is having a hard time? Yes, empathy is good but not to the extent where you feel guilty for anything good in your life. Being a good person is ideal but why must you be the martyr in every equation?
There are so many situations we may find ourselves in that require us to understand why we want to remain in an untenable circumstance or why we want to want what we say we want. But life is short. Even 80 years is not all that long. There’s nothing noble about sacrificing your life to your psychological burdens, or cultural norms that are just not for everyone, or people who never really loved you in the first place, or people who love you so much it limits and stifles you. Are you willing to give yourself a fair shake in this life?
How much do you desire to want better for yourself?
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