I was inspired to write this text after listening to a great talk by Lynn Kreaden at the embodiment conference. Where she talked about embodied desire, what we desire and want and the difference between them. This is my take on it.
What is it you desire and what do you want? Is there a difference and why could it be useful to take a moment to reflect on this?
For me desire is something that has its source within me, something that fuels my purpose and pulls me towards the future I want to emerge. What I want is something that is usually outside of me, something I reach for and something (maybe physical) I try to bring into my life.
Regardless if you call these concepts desire or want or something completely different I believe there is a benefit to differentiate what we desire to manifest in our (inner) world compared to what we want to achieve outside ourselves and bring into our lives.
What is it that I desire? Safety, happiness, love or to help create a better world? What is the essence that motivates me to do what I do and what kind of feeling or state is it that I strive to be in?
What is it that I want? A place to live, higher salary, the perfect relationship or new clothes? What am I working on to bring into my life that I feel I need or do not have now?
I believe that what we desire and what we want can sometimes be perceived to be very similar things and most of us might not reflect on the difference. This does not have to be an issue, if what someone desires and wants truly is the same. However I unfortunately believe many of us focus very much on what we want rather than what we really desire. I also believe this can become problematic when there is no clear connection between what someone desires and what someone wants. If we keep on chasing new things in life that we believe we want without having a clear connection to our desire, I find that we usually don’t feel fulfilled when we actually get what we want.
Commercials play on our desires by telling us that we need to look a certain way or live a certain lifestyle to get respect, love or affection from others. Social media has a tendency to “help” us show all the awesome things or activities in our lives and how happy we are. In many cases just to get noticed and get validation from our colleagues, friends and family. If it feels like everyone else has an awesome life, it can also feel like we want all the things that show up in our feed in our life too and start chasing after that instead of reflecting on what it really is we desire in our life. “Everyone else looks so happy in all their pictures so if I get what they got maybe I can become happy too!”
Ask yourself what you desire and what you want in regards to your work, relationships or life in general.
Having a clear understanding of what matters to you can be a powerful tool to both focus on what makes you feel fulfilled, prioritize what to spend your energy and time on and motivate you to get “the right“ things done.
Some food for thought
If you desire to feel loved, what actions will bring you closer to fulfilling that desire? Are you going on Tinder dates to find someone to love you? What do you get out of this activity, is it love or validation? Are there other activities that would better fulfill your desire, could working on your love to yourself be the thing that is the action that fulfills your desire? Maybe you just wanted to learn to love yourself all along and that was all you needed? Or then again, maybe your desire is to be validated and going on Tinder dates fulfills your desires and that activity gives you exactly what you want.
If you desire to feel safe, maybe you like many others are working to just get enough money to have somewhere to live and call a home. If you manage to get that and still want more money why is that and what are you spending the extra money on? Are you using the extra money for something that you desire, if not is there something else you could focus on than getting more money?
If you feel that you want to play games or drink to relax after a long day what is it that you desire from those activities? If your desire is to relax and those activities help you fulfill that desire, then great! If not, are there other activities that could help you fulfill your desire to relax in better ways?
Is there a task that you feel that you need to do but don’t necessarily want to do? Is that task connected to one of your desires? If it is, maybe it becomes easier to do it because you know it is a small part of a bigger goal that you have for yourself. If it is not, then maybe it is a good sign to start thinking about why you ended up having to do this task.
DO NOT LET ANYONE TELL YOU WHAT YOU SHOULD DESIRE OR WANT! (including me)
I do invite you though to reflect on what you desire. If nothing else than to be aware of when someone or something tries to make you do things that are not in line with your own desires. I also invite you to reflect on the things you want and the things you do. Do they bring you closer to your desires and do you feel fulfilled once you get what you want?
Easier said than done
So how can we figure out our desires? I’ll leave that for another blog. But until then you can always check out the work Lynn does. I am also sure there are lots of other awesome people out there helping people find their desires. If you have your own suggestions or other references feel free to leave them in the comments.