“I want. I want… I want…. It’s one of the most dangerous phrases you will ever speak.”
How can five letters hold such power?
I WANT has the immense and immediate ability to rip you away from the grace and power of the present moment while disconnecting you from the joy, passion, and peace that is your birthright.
In short, these two tiny words equal suffering. Let me show you how.
Two Tiny Words, An Immense Amount of Suffering
I wanted to be happy. I wanted to be smart. I wanted to be successful. I wanted financial independence. I wanted to have kids. Lots of them. And I wanted to be loved (for a while I thought by George Clooney!?!) Oh, and I also wanted to have long, thin, beautiful legs. Seriously, Gisele Bundchen legs!
I wanted it all, with all of passion and conviction I could muster.
But my wants remained loftily stubborn. Out of reach. In fact, for the majority of my life, the absence of checkmarks on my ‘want list’ (and my bitchier days, my ‘deserve list’) made me firmly believe that life was against me.
I was a classic victim, sure that I had an oversized bullseye on my back. My life, I felt, was downright unfair, so I took every opportunity to remind the universe of this fact.
All because my wants weren’t showing up.
A Smelly Guest
Crisis became my constant companion; an unwelcome guest with smelly feet in an uncomfortably warm room. On those days when calamity or despair weren’t at the forefront of my attention, the ripe odor of those feet would reach out and grab my attention as a telltale reminder that although its owner may be on temporary respite, its return was imminent.
My marriage was a disaster and my husband was continually unfaithful. (See 5 Steps To Beginning Again.) Our adopted son had alarming behavioral issues – not a surprise given the high degree of dysfunction within our tiny family. As well, I was clinically depressed after 15 years of infertility and to drown out my feelings of self-righteous victimhood, 5 o’clock and my glass of red wine never arrived fast enough.
No matter the good things that did come my way, their appeasement was fleeting. Every moment measured against the story of what was missing. Each argument exacerbated by the comparison to a non-existent relationship for which I desperately longed. Every hurtful accusation was amplified by the void of self-love. Multitudes of parenting missteps were held up to the scrutiny of a God who I believed had deemed me unfit to carry children. Every failed holiday was measured against a dream that existed solely in my head.
A Sudden Awakening
Then in one of the most crippling moments of my life, one of the greatest things happened. I had an awakening; a sacred moment of expanded consciousness.
I discovered that it wasn’t the absence of these things that was causing my no-good, horrible, very bad life. It was my rigid attachment to these wants as a required outcome for my happiness that kept me disconnected from my authentic potential. My staunch stubbornness continually measured real life against those external desires and as a result, I suffered every day.
Real life didn’t stand a chance.
My bottomless emptiness was desperately searching for fulfillment outside of me, convinced that the arrival of any one of these desires would deliver me over to the peace and joy that I so desperately searched.
And IF THERE IS ONE THING I KNOW FOR SURE FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE (and from the thousands of women I’ve had the honor of meeting across this globe) you may be lucky enough to possess your dream list of material things… jewelry, clothes, cars, facelifts, beach houses, private planes, handsome lovers, and yes, Gisele Bundchen legs – but at the end of the day these things won’t bring you lasting joy.
Surrender Your Wants
I have surrendered my wants. I am at peace with the truth that I will die never having given birth to children. And yet, I hold the divine realization that something wholly personal, profoundly life changing, and deeply liberating was birthed through me.
Joy. Peace. Serenity. Equanimity. Fulfillment.
These transcendent qualities were conceived from within and born of acceptance and gratitude. Unlike my children whose job it is to differentiate and move on independently, these gifts will remain with me until my final breath.
It’s all an inside job.
Three Powerful Ways to End Your Suffering
Change Your Perspective
Scrub WANT from your lexicon. Every time you WANT for something other than how life is showing up in this moment, you are setting yourself up for suffering. It’s only by powerfully aligning with what is that you can expand into more. Be in the moment. Fully. Know that life is unfolding for your greater transformation.
Accept and be at peace with what is unfolding. Yep, I know from personal experience that this can be a tough one. But I also know that we are limited in our ability to see the grand scope of our lives. You have no idea what this perceived challenge, no matter how debilitating it may appear, may be delivering you toward. If you could step into a future even 10 years from now, you would see with incredible clarity how this experience has delivered unbelievable gifts. Trust and live into the deeper truth that life is on your side. Consciously remind yourself of this eternal truth in moments that you forget.
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Up Your Gratitude Game
If you want to change your energy and change your life, you’ve got to up your gratitude game. Practice living your life as if everything is a miracle. Your joy quotient multiplies exponentially when you heighten your awareness around the simple pleasures that, once recognized, shift your entire perspective around all you’ve been given. Thank you has become my silent mantra throughout my day now that I diligently practice living in the present moment.
Plus research shows that giving thanks makes you more resilient, strengthens your relationships, improves health and reduces stress. If you want to heighten your quality of life and begin connecting with inner joy and fulfillment… start living gratitude.
How invested in suffering are you? What is your greatest want list and how have you shifted it? I can’t wait to hear what you have to say.