Why We Need to Ask Ourselves “What Do I Want?” More than Once

Sometimes, to get to the heart of the matter, I think we have to ask ourselves “What do I want?” more than once. For instance, I might say, I want to quit my job. Q: Okay, why? What do you want? A: Well, I don’t want to spend the majority of my time doing something that doesn’t make me happy. Q: Okay, what do you want? A: I want to do something that brings me meaning, something that brings me purpose. Response: Ahhh, now we are getting somewhere! Just with that identifier alone, it should be obvious that with the exception of showing up to my job every day because it is currently my responsibility until I make a change, I should not commit to other activities in life that do not bring me meaning or purpose. I sure as heck shouldn’t quit my job and take a new one that does not bring me purpose.

But we do silly things all the time that take us further and further away from what we want. And why do we do this? Well, there could be many reasons but certainly a big one is that we haven’t gotten to the root of what we really want. Let’s take the job example again. Say you don’t want the job you have. But rather than getting at the root of what you really want you engage in all sorts of self-sabotaging behaviors like eating junk food because you are bored, fighting with your significant other because you are frustrated, or jumping into another pointless job because you are desperate.

All of these activities add more drama to your life and enhance your lack of clarity. If you were able to identify the real issue and come up with a plan, imagine the clarity that could be added to your life. For instance, you might say, “Well, I don’t know exactly what job will bring me meaning but I know that I like fishing. Fishing makes me feel good.” Great, what a good thing to have identified! With that piece of knowledge in mind, you might decide that on Saturday you will leave your house early and go fishing for the day. Even before you actually go finishing, odds are good that just thinking about Saturday is going to make you feel more positive. After a day of fishing, or doing whatever it is that makes you feel good, you will likely feel much more clear headed. Coming from that space, I would imagine that it might also be easier to treat your body better by making one or two healthier food choices because the ache of boredom isn’t there to push you on at that moment. That evening, you may not feel the urge to argue with your significant other because the frustration that desires a release may not be present. You may also have enough clarity at this point to see through how silly it would be to jump into another pointless job just because the opportunity presented itself.

Although our long term goals might not be achieved immediately, it does help to ask ourselves “What do I really want?” By asking ourselves this question, it tends to add to our clarity and serve as a means for getting closer to or on the path of where we want to go.

So, where is an area of your life right now that currently gives you angst? Why are you in resistance to that situation? How would you like that situation to be different? If you achieved that change, are you sure that same resistance wouldn't come up in another area of your life?

What is it that you actually want? What is missing from this situation that is the real source of your pain? Once you have your answer, do you see an immediate way that you can solve this lack? If not, what instead is one gentle, kind and loving thing that you can do for yourself? Often by doing this it helps us step out of our head and into the flow of life. When we are out of the flow, answers elude us and we tend to make poor choices that don’t address what we really want. When we are in the flow, calm and clarity have a way of stepping in and presenting us with solutions we never could have reasoned our way into.