Girl Wishing and Wanting
I was having a conversation with somebody over Twitter recently — (Twitter = Can you say new obsession?) It was one of those random comments that I happened to run across from somebody who I really enjoyed. Her name is Alice Langholt of http://reikiawakening.blogspot.com/ and she is a Reiki Master who is building her business while having a day job rating Google pages.
In the twitter stream she had posted that she was frustrated with having to do a day job when what she really wanted to be doing was reiki full-time. (By the way Reiki (ray-kee) is a spiritual practice in the form of energy healing and I know people who swear by it!)
Our conversation continued over Twitter and my “coach’s fascination” kicked in. I ended up sending her a very lengthy e-mail that addressed this feeling of wanting things to be different than they are. I know all of us have felt that way at one time or another. Below is a synopsis of what I told her.
It is an interesting thing. We attach to wanting a certain thing not because we really want that thing, but because of what we think having that thing will give us or make us feel. (Read that sentence again because it is an important one) I want that new career or that life partner, etc. because of how that will make me feel once I have it. We attach to that particular thing because that is the only way we know how to get that feeling.
Laura Berman Fort gang describes it as the difference between “essence” and “vehicle.” The essence is what we truly want — peace of mind, security, fulfillment, acceptance, significance and so on. The vehicle — the new career, new life partner, new car and so on — is what we attach to and believe will give us that essence that we’re actually looking for.
The trouble is, we attach to a vehicle because that is the only way we know how to get the essence that we really want. We make that “thing” that we want so important and lose sight of what it is we’re really looking for. Unfortunately, there is a huge irony in this. By attaching and focusing on the vehicle, we put an intense pressure on the attainment of that vehicle and oftentimes, push it away in the process. If we would actually stop and ask ourselves the question, “what will having this thing give me/mean about me/make me feel?” we would recognize that there is something much deeper that we are actually looking for.
An interesting thing then happens. By focusing on the deeper essence of what it is we really want, all sorts of “vehicles” suddenly show up as ways we can get that “essence” satisfied. Suddenly we have options and the pressure on that ONE thing as THE ONLY way subsides.
Here’s an example. A young child does a play in the fifth grade. He does well, the audience applauds and all of a sudden he feels completely satisfied and accepted. He has never quite felt that total satisfaction before and decides that an acting career is the way he wants to go. He spends the rest of his adult life pining after an acting career and never feeling satisfied unless he’s actually performing on stage. In this case, he has put all the pressure of the satisfaction of his need for acceptance on an acting career — the vehicle to his acceptance. He feels compelled to an acting career not realizing that what he really needs is acceptance. Were he to stop and uncover what he really needs then that intense pressure of having to have an acting career would subside, he could focus on getting that need met and actually be at choice about if he even WANTS to act!.
I know this may be a bit of a mind screw for many. We really think that we want that THING that we want. We are creatures governed by feeling and we forget that those things, in and of themselves, have no meaning unless we ascribe meaning to them.
For some fun, try this experiment: take something you really, really want and ask yourself this question. “What will having this thing actually give me that I don’t currently have?” I’ll be interested to find out what you learn.
If you found this blog post interesting or helpful, I invite you to contact me via the contact pageon this site and let’s set up a time where we can have a coaching conversation. I am an expert at helping people get what they really need so they can have what they truly want faster and with less stress than they ever thought possible. Give it a try.