What do you want?
It’s an innocuous question on the surface.
A million times a day we make decisions: The black shoes instead of the brown. A tuna sandwich for lunch. An hour of reality TV and then an hour of reading before bed.
When I think of that question, my mind drifts to the Tom Hanks line from You’ve Got Mail: “The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark, caf, decaf, low-fat, non-fat, etc. So people who don’t know what the hell they’re doing or who on earth they are can, for only $2.95, get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining sense of self: Tall. Decaf. Cappuccino.”
We make a gazillion decisions on any given day, so of course we know what we want.
Well. If you’re like a lot of people, the answer to “what do you want” may come out “I don’t know.”
I hear it often. I’ve been known to utter these words myself. (In fact, as recently as two months ago, I was called on it by a dear friend when I answered a question about my writing this way.)
The truth, my dear, is this: you do know. At least, the deepest part of your heart knows.
Sometimes the answer to the question “what do you want” is rarely“I don’t know,” but instead comes out as a shopping list of “shoulds” revolving around perfection. Answers like “I want to be a perfect wife, mother, and employee.”
The thing is, that answer isn’t exactly truthful. Feeling the need to “be perfect” sets us up for a constant dialogue with our Inner Critic. We base our idea of perfection on the outside world views: a white picket fence, baking cookies, and being a hot sex-kitten for our man. (Or for my guys out there, it’s working hard to bring home the bacon, playing a great game of golf and one-on-one basketball, and being the strong, supportive, sensitive partner at all times.)
Now, while I’m a big lover of cookies – and I believe that you (yes, you) are a hotty-hot sex kitten deep inside, I’m here to tell you, darling, that continuing to strive for the perfection based on what the outside world – also known as “they” – should look like is a path to dissatisfaction with your life.
Look. I know to the depths of my soul that you desire – and fully deserve – to be happy.
To discover what your soul desires, though, you’re going to have to listen to your heart and soul for the truth. It’s about gently steering yourself in the right direction.
Only you can define what happy looks like to you.
Only you can define what satisfaction feels like.
I know that this is scary territory for some. I cannot tell you the umpteen times that I have sat across the table from (or at the other end of the phone) from someone who realized they were afraid of the answers even more than of the questions. And then to be a witness to the discovery that the desire to begin living life is stronger than the pain, the numbness, and the fear of simply existing.
I have faith that you can find your heart’s desires. That you can be happy. That you can feel joyful and satisfied and proud.
It starts with facing the simple question of “What do I want”.
And answering it with truth.
My eCourse “Clearing Brain Clutter: Discovering Your Heart’s Desire” begins soon…
If you are ready to explore now, begin by asking yourself these questions:
- What is the best thing about my life?
- What is my best quality?
- How do I want to feel?
- Why do I want to feel ________?
- When I answer “what” I want, what is the first thing that comes to mind?
- Why do I want _________?
- What do I know I don’t want in my life?
- How can I begin to let go?
If digging into these questions on your own seems a little daunting – or just too scary without a bit of a helping hand, then by all means ask for some help. Choose someone to help guide you along the journey – a therapist, a wise friend, or a coach.
(I’d love to work with you but let me tell you something: if we aren’t a good match, I’m always thrilled to refer out to other coaches. Because one of the driving forces for me is my desire for you to find your happy.)
Step up in courage and share the answers to one of these questions here in the comments.
PS – Another great way to begin is to work through my eBook/eWorkbook “Three Steps to Sailing Into Your Best Year : Creating Your 2013Compass”. It will allow you to clarify your values, identify how you want to feel, and zone in on the actions you’d like to take. It’s available to my eZine subscribers FREE !