Want is a funny thing. We often spend much of our life wanting, and not wanting. We want the onion rings, but we don’t want the lettuce. We want the perfect-to-us relationship, but we don’t want to waste time with scrubs. We want this, but don’t want that.
What we rarely realize is that “want” and “don’t want” are two sides of the same coin. When we say we “want something”, we are at the same time saying we “don’t wan’t something else” and vice versa. Does this really matter? In some cases I feel it does.
What is it we want? Does it come from inside of us or is it external to us? Here is the clear cut test. Can it be taken away from us? Money can be lost or stolen. A relationship can be left by the other person. A friendship can be abandoned, moved on from or just grown apart. We can be let go from a job, and so on. When our primary targets of want are things that we ultimately don’t have total control over losing, the feeling of getting them is often outweighed by the feeling of losing them, and we will lose them… everything in our life at some point is lost.
But when we “want” things that come from within us, things like: peace, purpose, gratitude, a feeling of abundance, self love, growth.. when we posses those types of things we find true happiness. Happiness that is impossible to be taken away from us by anyone or anything.
My Time Wanting (The Good, The Bad, and the Honest)
I’ve spent a lot of time wanting.. and by a lot of time I really mean “most of my life”. Whether it was wanting friends, wanting approval, or just wanting “things” (I remember my ex and I would look at the Sunday ads every week, most excitedly Best Buy, for the new releases and sales.. and would make a trip probably about every week and buy at least 1 or 2 new movies each week.) I’ve on the other side of that spent a lot of time in the last three years also wanting.. more of those second types of things.. Peace, purpose, growth, wanting to touch as many lives with purpose as I could.
The honest truth is that want without action is like taking a car ride without gas. You sit in the car and imagine every possible destination you could travel to and the sites you could see but never end up going anywhere.
I’ve spent years trying to figure out my purpose.. and realize that much of that time has been spent “wanting” a purpose. Much of that time was sitting in that car thinking about all of the places I could possibly end up, all while the gas tank was completely empty. Meanwhile, the flip side was true. You remember the other side of that coin above? While I was wanting purpose, I was not wanting to be left without purpose. What a horrible life that would turn out to be!!
The truth is that a sense of purpose isn’t something to be wanted. It’s not something to wait around for an answer to fall into your lap over. It’s not even something to be figured out. A sense of purpose, I am now learning, is something to be found. To be explored. To be attempted and to be redirected away from or directed toward. Most importantly, it is to never be judged. Our purpose is our purpose. It can shift, grow, change, and turn out completely different than it once was. Through it all we work to remain grateful for what we’ve achieved, focused on where we are, and open to the possibility of what might be next.