Owning What it is You Want
In today’s society, starting a sentence with “I want” isn’t always seen in a positive light. There’s a lot of negative connotations that can come with those words: demanding, bossy, spoiled, childish, selfish… to name a few. We are socialized not to be so demanding of others and of life – it is better to not to desire things beyond what you already have.
How often do people openly communicate with others to let them know their true desires? For example:
- Someone who often goes out of their way to do things they don’t actually want to do, or have time to do, for someone else.
- Someone who doesn’t admit they want a promotion, or a different role, because they are afraid of being accused of feeling superior to their peers.
- Someone who doesn’t admit they’d like to drink less often, because they think they’ll get excluded or won’t be seen as “fun”.
We are so often afraid to admit that we want something more than what we have, especially if it makes us different. But by constantly denying our own legitimate desires, we sap our energy and our ability to contribute as our whole selves to others around us. Hiding what you really want is not the path to healthy living – it’s really only bringing you down.
Let’s take our first few examples. What if…
- When you stop going out of your way and instead make time for your own priorities, you can show up for others in a much happier and positive state than if you were always taking care of everyone else. You show up less drained, and better able to help.
- You do admit you’re ready for that promotion or another role, and end up adding more value to everyone around you.
- As a result of drinking less or less often, you are able to wake up earlier on weekends and have more time to get things accomplished in the day. You are more well rested and on top of things, meaning freer to engage more fully with the very people you were worried about becoming distant with.
Would it be as scary to work towards what you want?
Concerns about hurting someone else, being an outlier, or losing connections because of choosing something different for yourself are absolutely real and valid – however, you could be missing out on being able to give the world the best of you.
And it all starts with admitting to yourself that this is what you want.
When you don’t set an actual goal, say “I want to be able to a run 5k with my family”, it’s just that much easier for you to say “well I hit the gym two days this week, and really all I wanted to do was exercise a bit so it’s fine”. Being honest and intentional will make it easier to tell a lunch buddy you’ll have to pass one day a week to go for a run. And when they see that you’re serious, if they really care about you they’ll likely take you seriously and become your cheerleader too.
If you really want something, the reality is you are never going to overcome your fears and discomforts unless you can be honest about it with yourself first.
Your desires may be a force for good in your life, should you choose to listen. The next time you hear yourself say “Yes, I’d really like to…”, say it out loud! Set a goal with intention. Be honest about what you want, or watch how quickly it falls to the wayside.