When I think about my feeling of “I want”, I feel it as a desire to grasp something.
We are constantly reaching out, constantly grasping for something to hold on to that will fill us up and make us feel complete, if only for a moment.
We are perpetually caught in a tide of desires, one after another, every single day. From “I want sushi tonight” to “I want to find the love of my life”. And sometimes, it’s scary to admit what we want.
What’s so scary about saying “I want”?
At times, I have felt desperate for my “I want’s”. I want that job. I want to be loved. The more desperate we become, the scarier it becomes to say “I want”—because we believe that the possibility of not obtaining our desires will cause us to suffer and that obtaining our desires will lead us to happiness.
There have been many unhappy times in my life where I have thought, “Why can’t I get what I want?”—I was too naive to understand that what I wanted wasn’t really real.
Then one day I realized that getting the “I want’s” that I craved so badly have often been a huge let down. That job I wanted so badly made me miserable. That guy I wanted to love me was totally wrong for me. My expectations were totally off and the reality was painfully unfulfilling once it was brought to light.
We are notoriously bad at knowing what we really want; we’re so swept up in the surface appearance of imaginary realities and imaginary versions of ourselves within these realities.
The whole time I was scared of not getting what I wanted, I should have been more concerned with asking myself some deeper questions—why do I want that? What is the root of the ‘”I want”?
Why did I want that job? I was fresh out of college and felt the sharp painful reality of the real world all around me. I felt rejected by the world and I wanted someone to validate my existence, to feel that I had a purpose and a gift to share with the world.
I would have saved myself a lot of stress and worry if I had only taken the time to accept myself and validate my own gifts, trusting that the right job would come along when the time was right.
Why did I want that guy so badly? I wanted to be loved, because it was hard for me to love myself. In my delusion, his life resembled a life that I once knew—one where I had loved myself a lot better. If only he would love me, then I could love myself.
How wrong I was. If I had only acknowledged these truths at the time, it would have saved everyone a lot of heartache.
Of course, the real root of all of this is a desire to be happy. Happiness does not lie outside of us, but within. Once I understood this, I realized that I could always get what I wanted, that my desires were meaningless when I know I can make myself happy!
We will never stop wanting. Nor should we, we are human. But instead of bending over backwards to obtain our desires, forcing ourselves into boxes that don’t fit us—let go, go deep, and know that our desires are manifestations of deeper wants.
More often than not, we can fulfil our own desires just by knocking on the door to our hearts and asking real questions of ourselves.
So hold your desires lightly. Study them like leaves falling from a tree. The more you study, the more you will understand where your true desires lie.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Assistant Editor: Renée Claude/Bryonie Wise