Sometimes we want things simply because someone else has them. I remember back when I was in college a friend of mine got a new luxury car. I was driving a car that looked like a turtle, in fact, that’s what I called it. So, when she got that car, I thought, “Oh man, this is amazing. I need one of these.” Whenever we went anywhere I was asking her to pick me up so I could ride in her car.
It wasn’t until she started talking about the maintenance of the car that I realized I didn’t want one. I only thought I wanted one because she had one and it looked all new and shiny. Now, when I think I want something, I ask myself why I want it.
In addition to asking yourself why you want something you can also ask:
Is this something other people are saying I should want?
Is this something that I see other people having and it looks appealing?
Is this something that could actually work for my lifestyle and who I am?
Is this something that I want because it looks good?
Is this really meant for me?
This doesn’t just pertain to things either. It can apply to relationships and even careers. It is important that we be intentional not just with our possessions, but also our life goals. We may latch onto certain accolades or achievements, not because they are important to us, but because we see someone else with them, or other people tell us we should want those things.
When I was just starting out as a fully licensed social worker, I thought it would be a wonderful idea to become a Licensed Family and Marriage Therapist (LMFT), because I thought it looked really cool to have all these letters after your name. I decided to participate in a very expensive supervision group for 2 years. I took classes at a college to be able to get this license, and about three quarters of the way into the program, I quit. I realized I didn’t really want it.
I was doing it because I thought it would look good. I was seeking external validation, but I was already doing the work. I was already seeing couples. No one was turning me down because I was a social worker. I am absolutely not knocking people with all of those letters after their name, but that wasn’t something I wanted for myself.
We need to allow people to have things that are really good for them without also trying to have those things for ourselves. This can be really hard in a world that’s always asking what’s new and what’s next, but we need to find ways to be at peace with where we are and what we have without always aspiring for more, certainly not when the “more” isn’t even something we really want. We have to make thoughtful decisions about what we want to do. We can’t do all of it.
What is something you ended up attaining or achieving even though you didn’t actually want it? What made you think you wanted it?
What is something you want for yourself? What do you actually enjoy?
Have you ever gotten caught up wanting something somebody else had? Tell me about it in the comments below!