“There are too many people in the world today who decide to live disappointed rather than risk feeling disappointment.”
This quote in Brene Brown’s new book made me think of a question I often ask my clients: What do you want?
Such a seemingly simple question, and yet many struggle to answer it. And I do too sometimes.
I think the problem is that we often confuse what we want with what we think is possible. So we don’t really answer the question of what we truly want. We think it’s pointless unless we are guaranteed to have it. And if we think something is out of our reach, we actively avoid thinking about it because disappointment hurts. Or we are scared that if we know the truth we will have to act on it and “follow our dreams” at the cost of stability and safety in our life. So we prefer to avoid the question. We stop telling ourselves the truth.
But that’s such a pity, and here is why.
First of all, we tend to limit our options way too much. We accept our first thoughts about something without even doing our research. We just default to what we might have heard from friends, family or peers, and accept that as true. Or we get uncomfortable as soon as a bit of excited fear comes up, so we shoot it down and tell ourselves it’s too risky. This is how we miss out on so many things we could potentially have.
The other problem is that the more we ignore what we actually want, the less we know ourselves. We get so used to ignoring our desires that we just stop being aware of them altogether. We feel dissatisfied and we don’t even know why. Then we start to focus on how our life compares to others, to have at least some kind of way to measure our success. Which is a losing strategy and can never substitute the feeling of making progress in something that we truly want.
What is your experience? Do you tell yourself the truth about what you want, even when it’s scary?