Sometimes, we want conflicting things. We might think we want a good marriage, yet feel we want a spicy affair. We might think we want to be on a diet, yet feel that we want to eat a gallon of ice cream. Knowing what we want—even when we want conflicting things, helps us get to know our self better. (We explored this in last week’s FB article). Today, we’ll look beyond what we want—to what we need and what’s best for us. I’ll share tools my clients use to uncover their hidden truths, and I’ll also share a very personal story that shows how I found “my best” and courageously followed that path.
Want vs. Need vs. Best
What we want and what we need are sometimes the same—for example, we may want to quit smoking cold turkey and we may need to quit in order to heal from lung cancer. In that case, what we want and need are the same. Often though, what we want can be opposite of what we need, and also less than our best. To continue with the example of smoking, we may not want to quit with all our heart, even though we need to quit in order to have a healthy life. Instead, we might want to hide under the covers and pretend that the addiction will go away. Moreover, although we might know that we need to quit smoking, going cold turkey might not actually be best for us. Depending on the state of our body and mind, it might be best to just take one small step towards quitting, such as cutting back, changing our diet and/or getting a “patch.” No doctor can tell us exactly what path is best for us, because we are all different. They can certainly make great recommendations, but it is up to each of us individually to train ourselves to know what is best and do it.
Just like most people, I experience inner conflict. My most longstanding conflict has been about whether or not to choose to experience a trustworthy, committed, intimate relationship. Here is how my thoughts, feelings, needs and best played out …
My thoughts: Although most people seem to either have or want a relationship, I thought I wanted to remain single. Relationships made little sense to me, caused more trouble and discontent than joy and seemed to be a setback in a world filled with creative opportunities. I thought I could continue to unconditionally love people, and save myself and others from suffering by not getting involved.
My feelings: Despite my thoughts, I felt I wanted a committed intimate relationship. I longed for the imaginary—a truly trustworthy, full-fledged honest, kind, supportive and encouraging and exciting relationship where two people together make a better world and each other better. Like cake and ice cream—they’re both good on their own, but together, oowwwwweeeeeh!
My needs: I didn’t know if I needed a relationship to be my most optimal. But I knew this—that I needed a clear conscience about my choice. I didn’t want to live with regret either way.
My best: Although I didn’t know if it was best for me to have a relationship, I did know a secret step to take between not knowing and knowing. So, I took that step. And you can take it too.
What I did
Instead of worrying about the fact that I didn’t know, I simply kept doing all the things that I already did know were best for me—like 1) work 2) care for my parents, friends and health 3) write about empowerment and willpower and 4) learn new ways to better love myself and others. Then, I chose to accept the fact that I needed to wait in faith—patiently, kindly and with a courageous and joyful curiosity about what Life would provide. After choosing to accept this, I felt free to enjoy life. I stopped criticizing myself, feeling afraid and wishing things were different. Instead of living the problem and uncertainty of NOT KNOWING, I was living in the opportunity, living in the faith that when the timing was right for me to know, I would know what was best and I would do it. And that, felt powerful.
Even challenges seemed “less challenging. So those during those times when I was being “hit on,” “hit up” or in some other way haggled by shenanigans, I felt mostly strong—like a tree, driving its roots deeper into the earth and becoming more stable. Sure, I had my moments when I felt sideswiped by comments that I chose to find hurtful (like when married men would hit on me), but underneath those tears I shed in bathroom stalls or on the console of my truck, I could still feel the presence of knowing. I knew, simply, that those men were not best for me, and that I would know my “best” man when the time was right.
How can we know what’s best?
I’ve found that the easiest way for me to know what’s best is to ask. “Ask who?” you might wonder. Well, I ask the part of me that has no anxiety, fear or stress and wants only what is best. This part has many names but is the same—it’s called the truth, the holy spirit, the small still voice, the inner knowing, etc.. We all have the ability be aware of our connection with this Life Force, and get our “best” answers. It’s free and only requires one thing: willingness.
Note: Side-stepping wants may side-step regret
Often, I choose to not follow what I think or feel I want, because many of my wants are based in fear and desire— the “wrong” intention. Just as in my experience, I thought I didn’t want a relationship because I was afraid of getting close. If I had decided to not have a potentially amazing relationship simply because I was afraid, that would have been a mistake I would regret. Likewise with my feelings—I felt I wanted a relationship because I desired mutual trust, home, family and sex. If I had decided to have a relationship based on desire—or what I was going to “get out of” the relationship, I would have been destined to disappointment. No one can give 100% of what I want, 100% of the time! And when I wasn’t “getting what I wanted,” I would have regretted choosing a disappointing relationship. By choosing what was best (to wait in faith) instead of doing what I wanted (to run away or jump in), I sidestepped regret.
Truth and Willpower
At the heart of honing our willpower, is the opportunity for each of us to apply it well. Not greedily, by seeking and destroying so we might get what we want. Not by running from the discomfort of fear. Instead, by focusing and applying our willpower to courageously follow through on what is BEST. When we, BY CHOICE, choose to be and do what is best, regardless of our fears and desires, we are truly great warriors.
What say ye?
Please share your thoughts, feelings, needs and best with us, that we may grow in strength and willpower together …
Always with love,