Do you have a hard time figuring out what you want in life?
Martha Beck says that helping clients get what they want is insignificant compared with the “daunting” task of helping them identify what they want.
Why is it so difficult to figure out what we want? Perhaps because we spend so much effort thinking about what others’ want. Or maybe because our culture tells us that desire can be dangerous. What if we don’t get what we want? The disappointment can keep us from wanting again. But keeping our hopes down does not inoculate against the pain of disappointment.
How to identify what you want?
In Crave Your Life, I explained how to check in with yourself to tell the difference between an authentic desire and an inauthentic one.
Here is another way to help you figure out what you want.
Follow your envy.
This comes from Lori Gottlieb in Maybe You Should Talk to Someone (my favorite book this year so far):
Therapists tell their patients: Follow your envy - it shows you what you want.
I find this such a helpful tool in identifying desires because it’s easy to envy others (hello Instagram), easier than asking a big question like, “What do I want?”
So notice what you notice about others and consider what aspects of their lives to which you are drawn. Is it their style, career, relationships, interior decor, sense of adventure or way they move through the world? Can you see that the same can be part of your life? These are the first steps to getting what you want.