How to work out what you REALLY want

Image by Michael Pollak used under a creative commons licence.

Most people settle for something less than that which they really want: Why?

Because they are afraid the disappointment of not getting what they want will be too much to bear.

Because they believe it will take too much money to change.

Because the things they do now, rituals, habits, things they have, the security they feel, seem too precious to lose.

Because although the way they live does not support them and yet it’s so familiar, it’s difficult to imagine another way.

Because they are scared to change, to rock the boat.

And you?

Are you thinking about these things? Wondering what happens if you take the risk of going after something you really want? Wondering whether this is it? This is what you signed up to - but you’re afraid to admit that you don’t really like it. You don’t want to be ungrateful.

I felt like that. I was earning more money than I had ever done before and it seemed a shame to throw away all my hard work to go after what seemed to be so unattainable. It would take lots of money, more hard work, no security - did I really want that? I carried on this way for a long while, struggling to find my creativity and follow my passions in things outside of my work.

The dissatisfaction that I felt about my current situation became apparent when I looked at myself in the mirror. What I saw made me so sad. A pale face, with dark circles under my eyes. Limp, lifeless hair. Troubled skin. Very rarely a smile. Often tears. Spending a lot of time in my bed and a seemingly permanent tiredness.

I was challenged to look at what I really wanted. Not what I thought I could 'make work'. Not what everyone else said I ‘could' do. A perfect life, a perfect wonderful life.

What would THAT look like?

At every stage of sketching this out: What does my body look like? Where is my home? Who am I with? little beasts of anger jumped out.

"Who are you to have this? Don’t you know you can’t just have whatever you want?! Life is supposed to be a struggle! Of course work is boring and tedious!”

But I allowed them to pass over me and kept on. What did that life look like? Where was I? What did I wear?

How did I know this what I REALLY wanted?

How did I discern between the million ideas that came into my head? How did I know this was it, not something I was going to get on with for a little while in a flurry of excitement and then have a ‘reality hits’ moment.

How do I continue to know?

Because it got me excited. Physically and emotionally. My body reacted - I literally would jump up and do a little dance around the room. It was deep, and true and loving. It was exactly right - without any ‘Oh, but I guess I wouldn’t like that bit’.

Because I created what it looked like to suit me.

To suit all of me.

The first part of Know, Grow, Give is: Know Thyself. Know what you like and dislike, what sets you on fire. What makes you mad and what you love. What you delight in. What you long for.

Create your own dream.

You’ll know when you hit gold because you’re body will shiver. You’ll look around the room to see if anyone has seen you - caught you in the act. You’ll feel a sense of rich delight, that will have you grinning from ear to ear. You’ll wonder and soar on that image, that picture you have created. You’ll know - it’s the truest, deepest version.

If it’s not that feeling, keep going back to it, rub out the bits that don’t look right and re-draw them. Ask yourself what you really truly want, without any thoughts of ‘but I can’t because’ coming into your head.

Yes, be prepared for that sinking feeling that you have NO idea how to get to it. This is normal. Right now, the dream is the thing. HOW will work itself out, just get to knowing where for now.

If you step towards your dreams, the best will happen. That’s not to say there won’t be disappointments along the way. That’s not to say there won’t be setbacks. Change can be very challenging: it calls us - in its deep, commanding voice - way, way out of our comfort zones. But we change when we step out. We grow when we face fears. And when we are really clear about what we want and put aside the rest, we find our souls are relieved that finally we have got the right path. We feel comfortable in our own skin. And we encounter that sweet, giving love of the journey.

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