28 February 2010

Lesson #7: What I want is not always what I need.

I hate this one.  It's such a bubble-burster.

Alright.  So we all have fantasies.  They could be as mundane as having Chik-Fil-A when I most crave it - Gah! Sunday again! - to wanting to be an astronaut. A novelist.  The president.  The President of Astronaut Novelists.  With zombies.  You know what I mean.  There are stranger fantasies -- if you need proof, pay attention to the gift exchange at next years 'Dirty Santa' Holiday party.

However, I am beginning to realize that most fantasies are good because that's all they are.  Fantasies.  They're attractive because they don't exist.  They give our mind the chance to ask the question 'What if?', and I think, deep down, most human minds really like that question.

I realize there are exceptions.  I also realize that there is a difference between a fantasy and a goal.  So let me borrow some wisdom and put it a different way:
"There" is no better than "here". When your "there" has become a "here," you will simply obtain another "there" that will again look better than "here." -- Cherie Carter-Scott, from Life is a game, these are the rules. 
 In other words, the grass is always greener on the other side.

So what has that meant for me?  I mean, this is a pretty basic lesson.  There's a song about it in The Little Mermaid. But despite this font of crustaceany wisdom, I've found that I've still had a few moments of awakening (aka clarity, or something like it) where I've had to realize the thing on my own.

For this lesson, I've learned that I need to look at my motives, look at what I want, and ask myself why I want it.  Will this thing/event/decision/etc... help me along my path?  Will this make me happy?  Will this create happiness for the people around me or the people involved?  Am I pursuing this because of ego?  love?  denial?  dependence?  challenge?   What will happen if I choose not to pursue it?  Do I need it?

This is a lot of thinking for the Hershey bar that's sitting in my fridge, but hopefully you get what I mean.

I heard an interesting statement today, that said people in our lives appear because of who we are, at the time.  I think the point she was making was that we draw people to us based on our circumstances, what we want out of life.  However, I think we also draw people to us because of what we need.  People come into our lives for a reason, usually to teach us something.  Sometimes we learn.  Sometimes we don't, and we have to repeat the lesson.  But I think that by paying closer attention to the people that are in my life, and by treating my motivations honestly, I will get a much better idea of what I need out of the present moment than by simply listening to the urge that says: "Want!"

I totally heard Cookie Monster in the voice-over for that word, by the way.

Finally, I want to consider one more variation on this lesson, and talk about Commitment.  Let's go back to Cherie Carter-Scott (this was, by and large, a pretty good book).
"Commitment means devoting yourself to something or someone and staying with it -- no matter what. . . . If you have this lesson in your life path, it will show up as an inability to make choices or to stick to choices already made."
 I have a lesson coming up that discusses follow-through, but I want to mention commitment in terms of want versus need.  I have not always been able to make choices in my life, at times from fear of closing off too many options, at others because the choice was difficult, or too broad.  Part of this stems from not identifying what I need out of life, versus what I want.  When looking at choices, I can't get too caught up in the 'what if'?   Risk/reward analysis plays a role in the decision making process, yes.  But when it's difficult to make a decision, or any decision, or when I ignore the decision I need to make because it's at odds with what I want... that's a problem.  Now (and this is in-progress) I'm trying to identify what I need, and stay with that, fully embracing those roles or aspects of my life until their complete.  Hopefully, with a more honest view of what I need, I'll be able to accurately assess the 'wants' and bring them more closely in line with the needs.

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