Deconstructing desires Print E-mail
News - Final Word
Saturday, 22 January 2022 06:29
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We’re still in the first month of this new journey into the unknown and I want you to know that whatever 2022 brings, we’re in it together, girlfriend. We’ll figure it out. Does that sound too vague? Would you rather commit to setting specific New Year’s resolutions?

Now why does that make my hackles rise? Probably because I abhor the ‘shoulds’ that go with goal setting. Rather ask yourself what you want and then try to deconstruct the desire. Christy Whitman says that behind every desire is a longing to experience a certain feeling. Say you want to make more money, lose weight, move into a bigger house or meet your soul mate. You’ll discover that the underlying reason you want any of these things is because you believe that having them will make you feel a certain way.    

Our conscious minds think logically, sequentially and linearly, says Christy. But emotion, not logic, is the force that inspires us. Going beyond what you desire and focusing on why-you-want-it helps you tap the enormous power of your unconscious mind. The deeper answer to why you want a bigger house goes far beyond square footage and has more to do with the emotional payoff you believe you’ll receive.

These deeper ‘whys’ drive our actions, so maybe it’s time to see them for what they are. A woman who only goes by the name of dr Aimie (nope, no surname to be found on her website or newsletters) talks about ‘extreme ownership’. It starts with extreme awareness – a willingness to look at the hard truth, rather than continue to avoid or distract yourself. You don’t have to like what you see; just acknowledge what is.

Dr Aimie says that she has a young part of herself that believes she is undeserving and unlovable. Of course she has a story to go with that. Don’t we all? With extreme ownership she had to look at the actions she now takes that reinforce this belief. With her actions, or lack of action, she has actually created situations which confirm that part of her that believes she is undeserving and unlovable.

If that young part of you is not ready to feel deserving and loveable, you take ownership of the fact that you’re not ready yet, rather than blaming it on someone or something else. Madisyn Taylor says that being at peace with yourself is not about rejecting or denying any part of yourself. On the contrary, to be at peace you have to be willing to hold yourself, in all your intricacy, in a full embrace that excludes nothing.

Maybe, instead of fighting so hard to get rid of what we deem undesirable, we can shift our perspective to instead look for the hidden potential in everything we judge as objectionable – in your own character as well as in the world around you. That is the only way to discover the hidden potential in every setback.

After all, as Madisyn says, our individual realities are coloured by perception: Despair and delight come from within. Situations we see as ‘good’ please us while situations we judge as ‘bad’ cause us no end of grief. If you try to get rid of preconceived notions about what is good and what is bad, you can start appreciating the rich insights hidden in each moment.

“Allow yourself to feel whatever you are feeling,” says Jon Kabat-Zinn. “Notice any labels you attach to crying or feeling vulnerable. Let go of the labels. Just feel what you are feeling, all the while cultivating moment-to-moment awareness, riding the waves of ‘up’ and ‘down’, ‘good’ and ‘bad’, ‘weak’ and ‘strong’, until you see that they are all inadequate to fully describe your experience. Be with the experience itself. Trust in your deepest strength of all: to be present, to be wakeful.”

“We almost never think of the present, and if we do think of it, it is only to see what light it throws on our plans for the future,” says Blaise Pascal. “Thus we never actually live, but hope to live, and since we are always planning how to be happy, it is inevitable that we should never be so.”

So, be here now, girlfriend. “You have the power to stop time,” says Matt Haig. “You do it by kissing. Or listening to music.”

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