Why is it so hard to figure out what we really want?

In the workshops I teach on living a sweet life, I ask a lot of women (and the few men who join us) to make a list of what they really want: what they want to do, what they want to have, how they want to be. It seems a pretty straightforward question. After all as human beings, we are creatures of needs and desires. And we live in a culture where a tremendous amount of good stuff and experiences is available and we're encouraged at almost every turn to want it all. But inevitably, most of the group feels stuck. "I don't know" is a curiously common response.

I've been pondering this a lot lately. It's not that the respondents to my question are unsure that intrigues me, but they are insistent about that uncertainty. They don't seem to want to figure it out. It's as if they're addicted to not knowing.
I think that those of us who claim we don't know what we really want do know. We are just afraid to want it and to say it. If we don't know and don't say what we want, we won't be disappointed. It's also true that it's quite unlikely that we will get all we want. And the problem comes, as one of my teachers says, if we pin our happiness on getting a certain thing or outcome.

But the answer doesn't lie in not wanting or pretending we don't know. It lies in wanting more, way more than we can imagine getting. It's wanting that new car, that better job, world peace, an end to hunger, and using that wanting to move forward into our lives.

So if you're one of those whose response would be "I don't know," get bold and figure it out. Magic can happen when you do. 


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