We were exploring ‘I need’ versus, ‘I want’.
We came to some pretty mind-blowing realisations:
So many of us are so consumed by thoughts of what we ‘need’ to be okay, to feel secure, to feel we’ve ‘made’ it, to feel we’re worth something, to feel we’re valued, that we seldom look to what we ‘want’.
No wonder we feel stuck, frustrated, unmotivated.
The truth of the matter is that until we stop saying (and focusing on) what we ‘need’, and start honestly stating to ourselves (and the world) what we ‘want’, the things we want to change in our lives don’t change in any significant or meaningful way.
It’s at the point of ‘wanting’, or stating our ‘want’ to the world, that we open ourselves up to the infinite creative potential within all of us: suddenly the world (and we) can plainly see our deepest desire, and from there all sorts of options/ ways forward possibilities arise. Without this statement of our deepest desire, none of this is available to us.
So why don’t we state more ‘wants’ to the world, why do we live in a world of ‘I need’?
My theory is that when we state what we want to the world, we open ourselves to a kind of openness and vulnerability and responsibility/accountability we’re not accustomed to: ‘What will it mean if I say what I really mean, what I really want?; ‘What will it require of me?’ – we shy away, for fear of what it might require of us.
But we’re never going to find satisfaction or peace of mind or sustained wellbeing in our needs as they’re founded on an untruth:
that if we have all the right things ‘out there’, the right sized TV, the latest iPhone, the dream colleagues, the perfect ‘job’ , a certain amount of money, then we’ll feel okay, then our wellbeing is a dead cert.
The fear that we won’t be okay without all the ‘right’ things keeps us from voicing what’s deeply true for us and keep us playing small.
We’re all consciously or subconsciously aware of this distinction between the smallness of our ‘needs’ and the expansiveness of our ‘wants’.
Clients often come to me wanting to be clearer on what it is they ‘want’ from life. In fact, they often know what their deepest desire around that aspect of their life is, but they’re too afraid to fully voice it to themselves and the world until they know how the ‘want’ will play out, or because they’re afraid of what it might mean for their future.
For example with my client, she has for a long time been focusing on what she ‘needs’ to be different at work in order for her to be ok. Those thoughts have consumed her:
‘I need so and so colleague to be different, to be less controlling, to be less manipulative’; ‘I need me to be more motivated, to get more done so I feel satisfied’; ‘I need to move up in to a position of more authority, then these problems, these feelings I’m experiencing will go away’.
When we dug deeper, we discovered that there was an unvoiced ‘want’ in there, which my client was repressing because she didn’t know how to make that ‘want’ happen. And because - even deeper still: she’s scared of what the truth of that ‘want’ might mean.
The unvoiced desire is that perhaps my client wants something else, something other than what she’s doing now. She doesn’t know what she would do instead, and what that other reality might require of her – to exist on less money, a period of unemployment – who knows?
All the projected unknowns she’s creating in her mind are manifesting in a fear, which stops her from stating her deep-felt desire.
I’m realizing more and more that we don’t need to know the specifics before we take the leap and state what it is we want in life.
In fact, casting an unformed, ‘I want’ - but a heartfelt, soul-deep one - into the great unknown is ‘how’ the answers come.
To honestly state to ourselves: I want something other than this (even when we don’t know what that something is) is a super-powered thing in itself; there’s no need for specifics, just in that opening up, the ‘work’ is done, the ball is set in motion, the answers will come.
We’re playing small to keep ourselves safe from something which is inevitable: unknowns are inevitable – we pretend we can control life, control the future, but actually we’re WAY more out of control than we think.
The very best thing we can do is look to how this life thing works, the principles in play behind it.
When we do, we see the truth of the fact that when we state what’s deeply true for us to the world, the answers come, the world (and our brilliant psychological immune system) has a way of taking care of us, of bringing fresh ideas to us – which we can’t see until we change our level of perspective or consciousness and look at our situation from our ‘I want’ rather than the distraction of our ‘needs’.