Some months ago I had a total facepalm moment. Maybe you know what I’m talking about. A facepalm is like Homer Simpson’s “D’oh!”s but stronger. More like the moment you realize that all your life you have been Doing It All Wrong and there is a better way. So you slap the palm of your hand to your face. Yeah. I could have had a V-8.
That’s what has been happening to me about Wants. About saying what I want.
I figured out I have been going about my Wants all wrong. Well, not wrong exactly, since nothing is ever “wrong” in the larger sense (it’s just a learning opportunity, right?). But certainly inefficient. Here’s why.
I was never saying what I really wanted.
I suspect I am not the only one doing this. Hey, I lived on the planet for many years not realizing what I was doing. Or, rather, not doing. Do you say what you really want? Really?
Instead of saying what I wanted, I said what I thought was possible. I would try to suss out the parameters of I thought might be possible and then say what I wanted that would fit within that. Oh, this was sneaky. It happened so quickly that I didn’t realize I was doing it. But I figured, why waste time wanting something I would never get? Why set myself up for certain disappointment? Why want something I might not get?
There is a big problem with that. If you limit yourself to wanting only what you think is possible, you put yourself in a box. And the box just keeps getting smaller, especially if you allow other people’s wants to affect it. Pretty soon you’re existing only within a tiny airless space, gasping for breath, silently crying out with pain — and probably resenting the hell out of anyone who has the temerity to say what they actually want. Why should they get what they want while you suffer silently inside the box of not-want that you built?
I alternately resented and admired the people around me who were able to live outside those boxes. Who said what they wanted. Who (in my mind) disregarded my desires. Who didn’t care what anyone thought. Who took from the world. Who knew what they wanted. Who said what they wanted.
A Wild Goddess knows and says what she wants
I found out that I did not know what I wanted. Or rather, I knew what I wanted – on a deep level – but I covered my over desires with so many layers of patterns, dynamics, and trying-to-please others that I became too disconnected from my desires to know what they were anymore. The journey back to What I Want has been arduous but the rewards have been incredible. By learning to tap into my wants, now feel more empowered, more whole, more joyful. More like a Wild Goddess.
Buried within us — in our bodies, hearts and minds — is What We Want. Learning to allow our desires to emerge and to be comfortable saying them is a huge step in becoming more of your goddess self. Learning to listen to your heart will help you find what you want.
How to know what you want
Ask. Ask? Can it be that simple? It may sound silly, but give yourself permission to know what you want. Go ahead, do it now. I’ll wait. Say, out loud, I hereby give myself permission to know what I want.
There. How did that feel? Check in and see what emotions you might be feeling. Write them down. Glad? Sad? Mad? Afraid? Write down what you are feeling. If anything else comes to mind – a person, a past situation, an image – write that down too. Just make a note and then let go of it. You’ll use this information later.
Ask again. Now that you have given yourself permission to actually want something, what DO you want? Dream big here. If you knew you could have anything at all, no strings, no financial or time constraints, no judgment, what would you want? Think of at least ten things. Now write them down.
Okay. Wow. How does that feel? Whatever you are feeling – good, bad, indifferent – write it down. Now let go. Take a breath and move on.
How to say what you want
“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.” ― Coco Chanel
Knowing what you want and actually saying what you want, in a given moment and to the people in your life, are two different things. And yet of course they are connected. You cannot say what you want unless you are connected to what that is.
For me the process felt a lot like jumping off a cliff. Not that I know what that feels like, exactly, but I can imagine it. The sensation of height, of nearly falling, of not knowing what will come, of the expansive great unknown, of thinking that perhaps instead of falling I could fly, and most especially knowing that in order to fly I need to surrender to the cliff, to the sky, to the experience.
Saying what I wanted felt like tossing my words, my heart, out into the cliff-space just beyond me. Could I catch them, hold them? Or should I simply let go and let them fly?
That is what you can do, too. Surrender.
Remember the feelings that you wrote down when you were exploring your wants? Review them. Love them. They are part of you! And they will be coming up for you again. Let that be okay.
And then just say what you want. Out loud. Surrender into it. Do not be concerned about other people’s reactions – their reactions belong to them, not to you. Saying what you want and being clear and authentic about it (this is why you first explored it on your own, to be sure about what you want and what is underneath it) feels good to most people.
Wants vs. Expectations
Do not confuse what you WANT with what you EXPECT. A want is simply a desire, nothing more. No strings. No attachments. You just want it. You might want world peace, or a million dollars, but do you really expect either one in this moment? Likely not. You know that to achieve either will take time and effort and may even be beyond your capabilities to create. But you can still want them. The trick, then, is to remain unattached. You can and should have many desires – the world is your oyster! – because desire is part of being vibrantly alive. But expecting all that you want to come true is unrealistic and sets you up for anger, sadness, and resentment.
Focus on What You Want, Not On What You Do Not Want
Sometimes women find it easier to think about things in terms of what they do not want. Like ticking things off a list and then taking what is left over. Yes, this is easier — it is certainly less risky — but it is way less satisfying in the end.
Do you really deserve someone else’s leftovers? Of course not. Then there is no need to limit yourself to paring down from what you do not want. Think about what you want instead. This might be scary. Our wants usually come from an ancient deep place within us. Touching that place may feel unfamiliar at first. Be gentle with yourself. You really do know what you want, if you let yourself go inside to where your inner goddess lives.
Things flow better when you think downstream and allow the current of creation to form your What Comes Next. Thinking about what you do NOT want is usually limiting. Thinking about what you DO want is empowering. You deserve empowerment.
Putting it Together
Any new practice takes, well, practice. Be kind to yourself. Be kind when you say what you want and be kind when you find that you were too afraid, too shy, or too vulnerable to say what you wanted. Be kind and let it go. Honor the feelings that arise in you as you move into a space of surrender to saying what you want. List – in writing — as many desires as you can think of: all of your desires, not just the ones you think are possible. Note the feelings, people, situations, and images that arise in you as you do so. Soon you will see themes emerge. Notice those too, and use them as new information in the unfolding magical voyage that is You.