what i really want

Life has felt a little swampy this week. Instead of just accepting that the depression was being obnoxious, I spent some time questioning why the hell I was feeling so sad. I really didn’t come up with a good answer. Perhaps it is just that post holiday/post stress/post spending a lot of money on a car thing. My energy is low.

Still, I have been thinking. I’m frustrated, as usual really, that I keep doing the same stupid things. I know what I need to do, but I don’t do it. I give up too easily. I feel out of control.

Last night I was watching a movie, The Answer Man, which had good points and bad points but one exchange just hit me.

Kris Lucas: Why can’t I do the things I want to do? There’s so much I know I’m capable of that I never actually do. Why is that?
Arlen Faber: The trick is to realize that you’re always doing what you want to do… always. Nobody’s making you do anything. Once you get that, you see that you’re free and that life is really just a series of choices. Nothing happens to you. You choose.

This isn’t a new idea for me. The question is what do I do with it? In the past, I have beat myself up over the idea. See? Everything is a choice and I make bad choices, therefore I’m a bad and lazy person. Giving up is just the ultimate and inevitable choice.

What if, instead, I approached it from the other direction? What if I looked at it as truly a freedom? What is it that I truly want to do?

It happens that Gretchen Rubin wrote about this idea recently also. One of her conclusions was that, “…we’re happiest when our decisions most closely match our natures and our values.”

“If I pretend to myself that I’m different from the way I truly am, I’m going to make choices that won’t make me happy.”

What is it, I am wondering, that truly makes me happy? Is it the short term pleasure I get from, for example, eating something I want right now or the long term pleasure I might get from being healthier and more fit?

“The chief cause of failure and unhappiness is trading what we want most for what we want at the moment.” ~unknown~

I don’t know that either answer is more right than the other. Or more honorable. Who am I and what do I really want? It is confused in my head. There is the image of me that I believe I should want. Sometimes I want to simply accept who I am. Sometimes I want to be some idealized self. Sometimes I want to be someone else entirely. Sometimes I want to be healthier – and in less pain – and sometimes I just want that brownie. Maybe nothing will change until I choose what it is that I truly want.

Could I truly have used the word truly any more often in this post?

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8 thoughts on “what i really want”

  1. Interesting post here. I know what you mean about the idealized image I have of myself and the reality of who I am. They don’t always jive together– and then I feel angst.

    A wise older woman once told me that I mustn’t “let the world should on me.” It was advice that I’ve taken to heart over the years. I find that phrase keeps me focused on doing what is best for me in each situation– and not giving up my power to some vague sense of obligation to the ideas of others.

    Don’t know that I’ve added much to your thoughts, but that’s what came to my mind when I read this post. Hang in there, Zazzy. You’ll figure it out soon enough.

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    1. Not shoulding on yourself is important and damn hard to do. Often, my vague sense of obligation is to myself. Short term pleasure v. long term pain is one of the things that make “living in the now” so difficult for me to really accept.

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  2. I think we are all in this boat of not really knowing what we want OR being afraid of the consequences if we do go after what we THINK we want. It’s such a gamble and can really backfire. 😦

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    1. Agreed Margaret. When I look at my choices, the consequences I appear to be choosing to not at all mesh with what I think I want. So I think, perhaps that is what I really want. Then why am I not ecstatic about getting it?

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  3. Your post reminds me of the cliche ‘be careful what you wish for, you might get it.’ I wonder if we keep doing the same things out of habit or because any sort of change requires the sort of hard work that we’re maybe just too exhausted with managing the day-to-day to summon up. I read Grechen’s post that you linked up and came to the conclusion that I do a lot of things in the day that I don’t value too. I used to want to fly under the radar for a multitude of reasons but I want to stick my head out of the parapet a bit now, just not sure how to make that change. Very interesting post.

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    1. I’m with you on the habit and difficulty of change. It seems to me that if it is something you really want you find a way to make it happen. So, if you don’t find a way to make it happen, maybe it isn’t something you really want? Or is that just an excuse and/or a way to beat myself up? Change is definitely hard even if it’s something you really think you want.

      Have I ever mentioned that I over-think things?

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