Why is it that we want the exact thing we know we can’t have?
The second something falls out of reach, we do whatever we can to grab hold, even if we let it go in the first place… even if we didn’t acknowledge what we had in the moment… even if the idea is completely one sided, and maybe not even your own.
Longing, lust, craving, attraction, whatever you want to call it, it’s there & it is RELENTLESS.
Think about it, the second you want to stop a habit, almost automatically, you can’t stop thinking about doing that behavior.
The second you start a diet, almost like clockwork, you start to crave the food you “can’t have”.
You break up with someone and, what do ya know, they are the only person you want to talk to.
You’ve “hated” your job, but when you boss tells you “this is just not working out professionally”, you’d give your right arm to keep it.
I think you get my point.
So why are we like this?
Humans are fixers. For all my science-y people out there, just as the body wants homeostasis, humans want to keep the “status quo”. It’s our innate inclination towards a scarcity mindset. I’ll help you out a little here – the scarcity mindset is commonly described as the belief that everything is limited, so it is better to be selfish, just in case we can’t have said thing down the road. Simply put, we want to have our cake and eat it too, for fear that someone else might take that piece of cake before you can get to it.
I think back to being a kid at the dinner table, eyeing my sister’s slice of pizza, and comparing it to mine. The slice put in front of me was never enough, the one she got was obviously better, and I wanted it. So we switched… problem solved right? Sure… until I saw her enjoying it, and now, suddenly, I’m missing out on something good, I’m jealous, and I want it back. Sound familiar? Just maybe?
This is the same mindset that justifies infidelity, ends marriages, leads to hurt, heartbreak, guilt, self-loathing, and more generally, that feeling that your tires are spinning with absolutely no traction.
See, when we are constantly chasing what we can’t have instead of soaking up every ounce of the present moment, we forget that each moment/person/place/thing/experience is something to cherish. We forget that we are okay right where we are and that sometimes things are meant to be just out of our reach.
It’s hard to admit to ourselves that we can’t have it all. I’ll be the first to tell you that there are days I would rather try to convince myself the sky is green than to tell myself these truths; No one is going to be friends with every single person they meet; We can’t land every job we apply for; We can’t expect to find our Prince Charming with everyone we go on a date with; And guess what, maybe you do pick up that cookie after dinner even though you want that “dream bod”. We are not perfect, we are not meant to have everything we want, and life goes on.
Want is healthy, we SHOULD want things because it drives us to pursue more. However, selfishly longing over what you can’t have, and letting that overshadow your physical, mental and emotional manifestations, is only going to end up hurting yourself.
The last thing any of us want to do is look back at a time in our lives where we were so hung up on what we couldn’t have, that we neglected what was right in front of us all along.
I think the best way I’ve heard it said is like this – “Don’t let anyone or anything rent space in your head or your heart unless they are a good tenant.”
So it’s time to step up as the landlord. Maybe you need to evict a few tenants…maybe you need to do a few renovations to a unit left vacant. It’s your job to know every nook and cranny of the property, and keep it in tip top shape. You get to write the Terms & Conditions before allowing someone to move in. If you’re looking for your sign to take an audit of your own space, here you go!
I’m a human, I have my moments where I let things take up valuable space that I could definitely put to better use. I’m working on it, you can too. It’s called a practice, not a perfect…. just know you don’t have to waste any more time or energy waiting in the “want”.
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