Often times we wish for things in our lives that we think will make us happy. We believe that if we have certain things we will have the feelings that we’re looking for.
But what I’ve learned (and have read in every new-age self-help book) is that in life, love, and the pursuit of happiness, it’s best to focus on the feelings you want to experience rather than the things themselves. Why? Because you don’t know what things will actually give you the feelings you’re looking for; you can only guess. And then you might discover, as I did, that you are wrong.
So all that being said, I’m making my own list right here of the things I used to wish for and the feelings that I now realize those things translate to.
FAME – I used to think I wanted to be famous. I think in today’s society, it’s easy to believe that unless you’ve succeeded to the level of being world-renown, you haven’t accomplished anything in whatever endeavors you’re attempting to pursue. I now realize that what I really want is the ability to choose my work. I’d like to be well known enough to have work find me, instead of me going out to look for it.
MONEY – I used to think I wanted to be rich. Again I can reference today’s society, and how you’re made to believe that you won’t be happy without all the bling-bling. I now realize that I don’t need to be that kind of rich because what I really want is to live life on my own terms. For me at this point in my life that means doing work I believe in, traveling regularly – for work and pleasure, having my own home (large windows and abundant space for bookshelves a must, everything else is negotiable), being able to buy wholesome and nourishing food, and the ability to shop for clothes at the Gap or books on Amazon without looking at the price tag. Oh and having money leftover to save and share.
BODY - I used to think I wanted to have a perfect body. See dead horse: Today’s Society, which makes you believe that unless you look perfect you are not deserving of love or happiness. I now realize that as long as I feel strong and energetic and happy in my skin, it doesn’t matter what I look like.
RELATIONSHIP – I used to think I wanted to have a relationship/marriage. See: Every single Hallmark card on the planet. I now realize that what I really want is to connect with people, to feel close to people. And I can get those feelings from friendships. Yes, I understand that it is not the same as a romantic relationship. But my desperation to be with “someone” lead me to make many foolish dating choices, and robbed me of much potential happiness. I am now very happy to be “with myself” (as opposed to by myself) and if someone wonderful should come along to share that happiness, that would be lovely. But if not, that’s fine too. I am happy, and will continue to be happy either way.
So there you have it… It’s an interesting exercise to break down your desires into feelings because when you get to the root of it, it’s a lot easier to get what you want than you might initially have thought.