We all think we know what we want in our lives.
We have ideas that more education, the right partner, having kids, not having kids, the perfect job, the nicest home, a thinner body, a whole new brain, a less dysfunctional biological family or a vacation to a hot locale will bring us what we need.
And it’s true, some of these things might be just what we do need (okay, maybe not a new brain).
But here is the secret:
It is not really up to us to decide what the best outcome for our life is.
I mean we really want to be able to mentally come up with the best outcome for our life and then work hard to make it happen, or at least imagine ourselves working hard to make it happen, because the uncertainty of not knowing what to do with ourselves is incredibly uncomfortable.
We think if we ‘know’ what we are doing and where that ‘doing’ is going to take us then somehow it is less likely that we are going to mess it all up.
But take a look at your past.
Has this worked for you? Has having a plan for your life and worrying and striving to make that plan happen brought you the outcomes you want? Or has it brought on stress, worry, self-criticism and even disharmony with people you care about?
This fear that we aren’t going to have what we need and want during our life is a really painful way to live, even though it is a normal way to live in our society.
Maybe we can change that.
And what is so exciting is that this change isn’t really that difficult. It just takes one small shift in perspective in order for getting what we want in life to be simpler, more enjoyable and often quicker, too.
Let go of outcome.
We just need to let go of needing to know in our minds how everything is going to turn out.
We need to let go of needing to know if we are going to go back to school for a Master’s Degree, if we’ll become a yoga teacher, if we’ll fall in love or have a child.
We need to let go of worrying if what we think needs to happen in our lives is going to happen. This worrying is an unnecessary suffering because it doesn’t matter if any of those particulars happen.
I know it really seems like it matters. I know it seems like this education, career, relationship or child-bearing is dire. I know that these feelings are real. That is why what we want to do is connect with the feelings versus being caught up in the when and how these things will happen.
Instead what we need to do is connect with the intention under the specifics we think we want. What is our intention—connection, being appreciated, using our skills or being aligned with life purpose? Because from the place of intention, our wants can get met much faster and easier.
Maybe making a delicious bowl of soup and sharing it with the right people is just the perfect way to feel the connection we need. Maybe an unexpected compliment from a co-worker can meet that need for being appreciated.
We just don’t know. And we don’t need to know.
So, when we find ourselves fretting that our life goals aren’t being met, that life never seems to be bringing us what we want, when we are stressing about the fact that the future doesn’t seem like it’s going to pan out the way we “want it to,” then it’s important to understand that we are getting too caught up in the outcome itself.
This worrying is going to happen—that isn’t a failure, that is just a sign that we need to re-frame what we are worrying about from trying to decide the outcome to getting down and dirty with the feeling and intention under all that fretting.
This is when we need to step back and ask ourselves what do I really want that is causing all this worrying and goal setting? And when we get the answer, we can shift our attention to giving all of our energy, thoughts and power to the intention instead of worrying about how to bring about a certain outcome.
Here are some examples:
Needing to get our Master’s Degree turns into “Feeling like an expert in my field.”
Wanting to meet an intimate partner turns into “Feeling in love and connected.”
Wanting a new job becomes ” Loving what I do each and everyday.”
Because the possibilities for our life are more infinite then we could ever imagine, why limit our life opportunities to what we can plan?
Instead let’s just get clear on our intentions and how we want to feel, then let our focus narrow in on these positive and powerful thoughts.
Less fretting. More deciding what we want. More getting what we want.
Sounds pretty good, huh?
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Ruth Lera
Editor: Catherine Monkman