A large part of life is about goal achievement – setting goals, pursuing what we want, getting them, relishing in our achievements and then continuing on the journey of growth with greater pursuits. I have written a lot about goal achievement on this blog, including my 5-step successful goal achievement framework ESPER (7-part series), how to quit in order to win, leveraging on your environment to achieve goals, improving your skills through leveling up and skills development, changing your actions to get what you want, and other articles in the goal achievement category.
First Step To Get What You Want – Admit You Want It
Today’s article covers the very first step of getting what you want – admit you want it. While this may seem obvious, I see many people around me who don’t get what they want, precisely because they don’t even acknowledge their desires to begin with. These are the self-deniers.
For example, for career, there are so many people out there who have dreams they want to pursue if they have their way – be it setting up restaurants, bakeries, schools, being manga artists, composers, etc. However, the self-deniers choose to stifle themselves by staying on in their suboptimal careers. They give reasons like the job is actually “not bad”, how it helps fulfill some of their needs, they’re quite happy with what they have, and so on.
In the area of relationships, you have singles who deep down wish to be in a relationship with someone they love, but deny it by justifying how they are happy being single. Even for the ones attached, there are those who have already lost their feelings for their partner but remain in the relationship against their better judgment.
Self-deniers never get what they want because they’re simply in a state of self-denial. This self-denial applies for all other areas beyond career or love – be it’s one’s relationship with family, relationship with friends, weight, health, wealth, achievements, etc. They have desires, they have their wants, but rather than being honest to themselves about these goals, they coax themselves into thinking they’re okay with not having them. Sometimes they even claim they don’t really want the goal to begin with.
However, without first admitting that you want your goal, there’s no way to get it. Imagine you’re at Point A. Point B is where you really want to be. If you keep thinking Point A is your desired point, how will you ever move to Point B? What ensues is you living under the illusion that you’re where you want to be. As long as you’re under that illusion, you’ll never get to your ideal scenario at Point B.
How Self-Deniers Come To Be
With every behavior someone displays, there’s always a cause that led to it in the past. Many self-deniers once began with an earnest desire to pursue what they want. However, along the way, some experienced setbacks. Some were bounded by increased obligations in life and became discouraged from chasing their goals. When they couldn’t get what they want, disappointment ensued.
Because the ego’s natural reaction is to protect itself, their self-defense mechanism kicked in. To protect themselves from further hurt, they began to spin all sorts of reasons to get themselves off the goal pursuit. These reasons ranged from “being content”, “accepting” what is, living in “balance”, how life has many “limitations” and they’re doing a great job living within these limitations, how they have other obligations to fulfill, and what not.
In short, these self-deniers “settle“, “accept“, “make-do“, “compromise“, “seek contentment“, “achieve balance“, or whatever hot button words they like to use in their self justification process. After that, they live merrily in their own cocoon of lies for the remainder of their lives. They preach values of “contentment”, “acceptance” and “balance” to just about everyone they meet. For most of the cases, they do such a fantastic job that they convince themselves beyond doubt that they’re really happy with their current situation.
Self-Deniers: Shadows of Their Higher Selves
Who are self-deniers lying to though?
Not their family. Not their friends. Not their colleagues. And certainly not the world out there. All these people have their own lives to lead. They don’t have a personal stake in the choices or decisions that these people make.
At the end of all that justification about how satisfied and happy they are with their life, self-deniers are really just lying to themselves. About who they are. About what they stand for. About what they really want. About their deepest goals and dreams. And then they just live the rest of their lives being shadows of what they can be.
Maybe you might say – “But isn’t it possible that they’re really happy with what they have?”.
If you’re a self-denier, you might be able to successfully delude yourself, but you can never lie to your subconsciousness. While your conscious self is busy padding your external life with a make-believe feeling of contentment and fulfillment, your higher self is withering from being locked away and denied from living out its true existence. You may speak like you’re happy, act like you’re happy, and even think that you’re really happy, but your energy flow instantly betrays you.
What do I mean by energy flow?
Over the years, I’ve observed my intuition becoming stronger and stronger as I live in increasing alignment with my higher self. My experience in coaching is also making me more intuitive too. Because of that, I’m now able to pick up a lot of things about a person in a short encounter – not from the words spoken, not from the behaviors displayed, but from the energy the person emanates. While this might seem a little abstract, it’s something you can gradually pick up by yourself too.
Think of energy in terms of a running water current. Someone who is living in alignment with his higher self exudes resonance in his energy. The current runs deep, fast, and continuously. There is no blockage or obstacle that prevents the water from flowing.
However, for a person who isn’t living in alignment, his energy doesn’t resonate. In some cases, the original water source may have been cut off and there’s no current at all. This results in a feeling of void. In other cases, there may be an alternate water current that’s running against the original current, leading to a clash in water flow. This results in a feeling of oppression or repression internally.
How To Tell If You’re Denying Your Desires
So how do you tell if you yourself are denying your higher desires? If there is ever a moment in your life where you feel a slightest tinge of dissatisfaction, boredom, jadedness, emptiness, unhappiness or negativity about any area of your life where you normally tell yourself “it’s okay” or “I’m happy with it the way it is“, that’s a strong symptom that you’re living in self-denial. Some may refer it as a “mood swing”, a sudden feeling of depression, or just suddenly going emo.
How do they arise? From being exposed to “mind-opening” contexts that puncture their cocoon of lies. These contexts bring them to awareness of what they really want, or in some cases let them realize they don’t want what they have now. In the area of career, it can be simply the arrival of Mondays, where you dread having to return to work. It can be seeing friends living out his/her dream career and achieving great results. It can also being seeing people achieve things that you would like too. In the area of love, it can be simply seeing happy couples (this happens a lot to many of my friends) or someone you are potentially interested in. In the area of family, it can be seeing a happy family where everyone is interacting harmoniously with each other. And so on.
Apart from that, such feelings can also arise from life changing events, such as death of someone close, a near-death experience, being retrenched, making a career shift, a break-up, losing a friend, etc. Such events have the power of shake someone out of his/her comfort zones and force them into certain realizations (these events usually jolt sleepwalkers out of their slumber too).
How often do these feelings come about? Maybe once a day, or a week, depending on how often you are exposed to those mind-opening contexts. For the chronic self-deniers who are very skillful at avoiding situations that trigger such emotions or repressing their feelings, such feelings might only appear once every few months, every few years, to almost never.
But in the times where this feeling does emerge, it’s undeniable. Self-deniers might feel lousy for the day, then try to cover it up by immersing themselves in work, watching TV, playing games, partying or just sleeping it away. For some, the feeling can be so deep that it sinks them into a prolonged state of depression. For the chronic self-deniers, they might pretend to be oblivious. They continue in their state of self-denial by immersing themselves in things that make them happy and telling themselves how they’re “contented” with their life and what they have now.
Does the problem ever disappear though? No, it doesn’t. This feeling of void will always emerge, time and again in the future. And it’ll never stop until you act on the problem – The problem of denying what you truly want.
Understanding What “Acceptance” Really Means
Don’t try to justify the situation by claiming you’re simply “accepting” what you have. The word “acceptance” has been tainted beyond measure simply because so many people use that as an excuse to explain away their fear or lack of ability. It’s a total cop-out.
What acceptance really means is to accept that the reality before you is the reality. That’s all. To accept doesn’t mean to accept something you don’t want as something you want. That’s not accepting; that’s flat-out lying. So many people misconstrue the meaning of acceptance. By claiming that you’re practicing “acceptance” through finding contentment in the present, you’re just creating an illusion for yourself. An illusion which will prevent you from getting what you truly want.
This means that if you’re a disgruntled employee who wants to pursue a career of your passion, then admit it. If you’re a single who desires to be in a relationship with your special partner, then embrace that desire. If you’re an overweight individual who wants to be in a athletic and trim body, then acknowledge it. If you’re a daughter/son who wishes your relationship with your family is much better, then align yourself with your desires. If you’re a girlfriend/boyfriend who wants to be someone else who is a better fit with your values, then come to terms with this feeling.
While you may want to lie about your desires to protect yourself, realize that these lies arise due to fear. Fear of not getting what you want. Fear of rejection. Fear of failure. Fear of being torn apart. Fear that you’re incapable. Fear of being hurt. And it’s perfectly okay to be fearful. Whatever the fear is, feel it, then face it anyway.
Because only by doing so; Only by embracing your desires can you even hope to get what you want. As they say, the truth will set you free. And it will. If you choose to pretend you’re okay with the status quo; If you continue to want to defend your pride and tell yourself you’re “okay” with what you have now, it’s never going to lead you to where you want. If anything, that’s the one guaranteed way NOT to get what you want.
Only when you admit to your real desires, then can you start to work toward creating what you really want. Only then will you finally stand a chance of getting what you want.
Take for example my clients. Each of them is creating results they want in their life now precisely because they recognize their life currently doesn’t match their ideals. Rather than sugar coating the reality and pretending they are okay with everything, they took the first, brave step to admit to themselves that they desire something else. And because they did, this gave them the permission to really start working toward what they want.
In one of my favorite cases, my client and I started our sessions in June. At that time, it just happened he was retrenched from his job. Within 2 months though, he secured in a job which matches his ideals. Not only that, he’s now pursuing his passion in baking cakes via an online cake business – something he wouldn’t have thought of doing before our sessions! In another case, my client was teaching in a school, where the environment was not in congruent with his personal values and style. After 2-3 months, he is now teaching in a new school where he’s much happier in, realigned with his innate passion in learning and pursuing it fervently via his multiple interest (drawing, language, teaching). None of them could have gotten what they wanted if they had not first admitted to their real desires.
What Do You Really Want? Acknowledge It
If you are to think about your life now, is there anything you’re not fully honest with yourself on? Some questions to ask yourself:
- What is your ideal life?
- What are your biggest goals and dreams?
- What is your ideal career?
- What is your ideal level of wealth?
- What is your ideal home?
- What is your ideal weight and fitness level?
- What is the ideal family you envision?
- What is your ideal life partner?
- How about other areas of your life? What are your ideal visions for them?
For all these areas, are you living out your ideal visions? If not, first start by admitting your truest desires. Stop lying to yourself and denying what you want. You’ll never get what you want that way. Only after being fully honest with yourself, then can you start working on how to bring them to life (ESPER). While the road may not be easy, the most important thing is this will finally set you on your path toward living your real dreams.
Image: Ice cream