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It can be so easy to get sucked into things we don’t really care about.
Or, things we do care about.
We can get so lost in the details, in life, in the details of life and whatever it is we’re doing, that we forget the broader picture. We forget that there even is a broader picture!
We can get so consumed by things that we forget about what really matters. About what we really want.
This can happen with things we want and like, as much as those things that we don’t (the things we feel we have to do).
We can even forget about why we’re doing what we’re doing. What’s the overarching goal? What is our deeper intention? How is this serving us? What is the point? What do we actually want from it?
This happens to me…more than I’d like to admit.
But I’ve learned how to navigate my way through this.
I’ve learned a way out of it.
When I manage to get just enough distance to want or be open to a new perspective, I ask myself this question:
What do I really want?
What do I really want? With this situation? This moment? This experience? What can I learn from this—about me, about myself? About my wants? Desires? Feelings? Beliefs? How can I best use this? How do I want this to serve me?
When we’re core-clear about our intentions, about our deepest wants, the outside unnecessary things fall away. There’s an automatic softening—at least to some degree. (There are reasons for why we’re feeling whatever we’re feeling, after all. And those need to be explored.)
My boyfriend will say something along the lines of, “Okay, it’s time to zoom out.” Meaning: we’re too zoomed in and need to distance ourselves from whatever it is we’re doing, for some perspective. I like this.
We can do this with big things and small things. In fact, we should. We should do this all day, every day—with everything.
What do we really want? Do we really want a second cup of coffee? (Or is it just habit?) Do we really want to go on this walk? (Ah, no, I’d like to nap instead.) Do we really want the dessert? (Or is it just part of our evening “routine?”)
What do we really want out of each opportunity in our lives? Work? Hobbies? The things we’re choosing to do because we love them?
When we can zoom out and get clear about what our overarching goal or intention is, our true desire, it’s easier to bring perspective to whatever it is we’re focusing on and dealing with. It’s easier to recenter and ground ourselves. It’s easier to let the needless drama stuff fall away. It’s easier to soften into the moment and be present for what’s actually going on inside of us (and why).
Asking this question works in two beautiful ways:
1. We get clear about what we want out of this situation, this moment. We can then use this to reframe our current experience and the feelings we’re feeling around it. We can use it to shape whatever it is we’re wrestling with, in a way that most aligns with our deeper intentions.
2. It gives us an opportunity to dig a little deeper. Because here’s the thing: if we’re getting riled up or annoyed by something—there’s a reason. If we’re feeling like we want something (even though we know that we really don’t), there’s something within that situation that’s appealing to us. We care. We might not care in the way we think we care in that moment. But we care.
Maybe someone has encroached on one of our values. Or we don’t appreciate someone’s approach to something. Or maybe we really do want something, but not here, with this thing, or with the way it’s being presented, maybe not in this particular situation. (But maybe the general feeling of it, the energy of it, what it is, is something we truly do want, in some way, in some capacity.)
I remember years ago when I had an “office” job—I knew for a fact that this would be my last office job. I also knew that it was the only job like this that I could have ever enjoyed, could have ever had. (Thank you Universe, for aligning that one for me when I needed it!)
Even though I knew that when I eventually left that job, it would be because I was leaving for good, or moving out of that city (which was something I also couldn’t comprehend because I loved being there so much), I still found myself tempted by the “traditional” path to success.
You know…going from assistant to coordinator to director to…
While my heart knew I didn’t want that path or to grow within that organization, especially outside of the department I was in, I still found myself applying internally for other opportunities. I had a phone interview for one. It sounded promising, but…I could feel myself questioning the whole time, why I was even applying for it. I knew I didn’t want this opportunity or this “advancement.”
Shortly after the phone interview, I emailed the woman who interviewed me, thanking her for taking the time to speak with me but saying that upon further reflection, I realized I should stay in my current position, that I wasn’t ready to leave.
I didn’t tell her why, of course, but my heart knew it: this was the only traditional office job I was ever going to have, it’s the only one I could have ever enjoyed, and when I left this job, I would be leaving for good.
I felt peace in my heart after that—after listening to and honoring my truth.
It would have been easier, and so, so much better to have just been self-honest from the very beginning. To have never even applied for the job in the first place, let alone had the phone interview, because I always knew I didn’t actually want it. But…ah, it can be too easy to get sucked into the “way things are usually done.”
What do I really want?
We can use this to give us perspective and context. To tune into our hearts. To allow our truth to speak to us and through us.
This simple question can help us tune into ourselves in every moment. When we get the answer from our heart, from our soul, we always know it’s true. It always soothes us. We soften.
It’s the soft, gentle, loving feeling of our truth.
This question will always bring clarity if we’re open to it, if we want it, if we’re willing to listen.
And when we hear the answer, we’ll be able to act from our heart, from our truth, from a place of authenticity.
And then we can choose to focus our attention on what really matters:
What it is we actually want.
And what we can learn from what we don’t.