When we feel anything less than happy it is because there are things that we desire that we don’t have.
It’s a simple statement with profound repercussions.
There are things that we desire that are needs and there are things that we desire that are wants. More often than not, we “need” the needs. Yet, when we stop and look at our wants… they’re usually quite revealing. They allow us to learn more about our specific nature, and about human nature as well.
For instance, some of you may get super upset at your spouse for forgetting to put the food that you prepared for them back into the fridge.
If you call them out on it, what you say and what you perceive can indicate that you think they:
- Are forgetful
- Are lazy
- Don’t don’t care about wasting food
- Don’t value money
- Don’t like your food
- Did it on purpose
And how they react can either:
- Show you that to them, leaving the food out is not a big deal
- Show you that they kind of know that it was a mistake but they don’t want to be considered accountable (Isn’t this response the worst?)
- Show you that they understand that it’s a big deal because they use words that make you feel better, they act with consideration toward you and they apologize. Most importantly, you know that they know that they’ll be more careful next time and the likelihood of them leaving the food out is very slim.
Most of you would react positively if your spouse did the third thing.
However, if they do one of the other two things, leaving a food item out can all of a sudden become a huge deal! A fight even.
The Origin Of Our Emotional Misery
Many of our conflicts start when we combine our past experience with someone with what we THINK other people’s motives were for doing something that we dislike were.
Yet, what we’re doing, is that we’re replacing an observation of what actually occurred, and coming up with our own interpretation.
And we do this so often, and so naturally, that we think that what we come up with is THE TRUTH. But it isn’t.
First of all, an observation would imply that we were there when someone is doing something that we question to actually use our senses in order to understand how things played out. But we’re rarely there. And even if we are there, what we see may STILL not be everything that needs to be seen. (You’ve seen those optical illusions, right?)
Despite this, we don’t often don’t hesitate to label people… and that label often makes it very hard for us to change our mind about somebody.
Whenever someone does something we don’t like we’re very quick to use the “if-this-then-that” mentality that can sometimes be right… but it’s often very, very, VERY wrong.
How My Own Friendship Perceptions Have Been Wrong
A few posts ago, I shared that one of my friends hadn’t kept in touch with me. I took it personally, but last week, I found out that a week after I saw him (about 3 months ago), he got fired from his job. I thought his emotional absence was because he didn’t care about our friendship but as I now am able to see, and you can see, he had much, much, bigger things going on in his life to be focused on our tiny friendship.
How Can We Avoid Emotional Misery?
As hard as it is, sometimes it’s good to give people that have disappointed you the benefit of the doubt. The less you’ve been hurt the more generous you can be with this benefit.
Yet, even if you have been hurt in the past quite a bit… challenging yourself to be a little more generous with your ability to give others a chance can end up working in your favor.
In the end, ignoring what we are really observing because we prefer to give it our own interpretation and spin hardly EVER makes us feel better. On the contrary, it makes us feel worse! It isolates us. It makes us feel like we’re the victim, the martyr and the unlovable person who can’t quite see their own magnificence.
And, get this…. insisting on your interpretation instead of reality doesn’t meet our desire for connection, understanding, empathy, friendship, etc. And that’s what we’re ultimately after, right?
Do We Want To Be Right Or Do We Want To Be Happy?
So it’s up to us.
Ultimately, we have to ask ourselves, “What do we want?”
- To have another “drama interaction” and use it as yet another opportunity to interpret other people’s actions negatively and “prove” how unloving they are (or we are, for that matter)? ORRRRR
- Do we want to have our wants and needs met in order to experience positive emotions?
If you’re stubborn, like I’ve been, and sometimes still am, remember this:
If you would rather hold on to your interpretation of what happened without giving people who deserve it a chance, then when you complain about “what they did to you” and feel justified in judging them, they’ll feel that judgment.
They’ll notice how the next time the topic of doing something together pops up, you’ll hesitate somewhat because you don’t want to be let down again. And when they notice this subtle or obvious rejection on your part, they’ll pull away a bit as well and ultimately, they will be less likely to fulfill your desire of companionship, friendship or love.
This is one way in which relationships fall apart… when one person or both people in the relationship notice that they’re getting disappointed and are disappointing others.
If you can be strong enough emotionally to be able to not take things personally and strong enough to not hug your interpretation like your life depended on it (I know that both of these things are hard) thennnnn you would actually have greater peace of mind because you would attract more peaceful interactions. The part of you that enjoys “drama interactions” would chill out.
You can’t allow people to delight you if all you’re doing is obsessing over what they’re doing wrong. -Haydee Montemayor
How Can We Not Get In The Way Of Getting What We Want?
As you’ve seen, one of the biggest mistakes that we make is that we put the “make me happy” responsibility on other people’s shoulders. We give people the power to make our day or ruin it.
Yet, what we have to do is to look inside ourselves and realize that what we say we want, what we give our attention to and what we REALLY want are three different things.
What we are really craving is:
- Being acknowledged
- Being listened to
- Being respected
- Feeling safe to voice our concerns
- And being loved
In the end, as I’ve said before, no matter what the question, complaint or argument is, love is the answer because ultimately, we all want to feel loved.
Love is the source of equilibrium. When it’s off balance, it’s the source of our affliction.
Why We Fight Over What We Want
Despite what it looks like, we don’t want to make our relationships more complicated…what we really want is for love to be present.
When we feel love isn’t present…that’s when we speak up instinctually as a way to preserve love. It’s as though we’re a child who speaks up because we noticed that our favorite security toy (or lovey…so appropriately named for this example) was taken away.
The 5 Archetypes of People Who Hurt Us
We speak up because we’re noticing that people are like:
- A Runaway: Someone who was by our side a minute ago, and the next minute, they pull away from us. It hurts to feel that love is slipping from our hands and we want to say, “Hey, hey, hey, where do you think you’re going? Why are you taking that love that belongs to me away from me?” This is especially painful when we don’t know why they’re pulling away because often, when we don’t get a reason, we think that we’re the one to blame. This is especially so when someone runs away and it totally blindsides us. Y et often, they’re running away due to their inability to fully embrace the love that you’re giving them or to commit to a love relationship.
- A Theft: Someone who robs us of our peace and our integrity by treating us poorly. They steal from us little by little… through nagging, blaming, guilt-tripping or, they rob from us all of a sudden. They do it in front of our eyes, or when we’re not even noticing. The thing about the thefts in our life that is the most painful is that the theft usually unjustifiably. To top it all, it almost always blindsides us.
- The Scammer: Someone who entices us to participate in an uneven exchange of value….. when what we give is not at all comparable to what we get back. The imbalance is usually super obvious, but we often fail to notice because we think we need them in our life, they’ve always been a “friend,” we’re in love with them, or they’re “family.” It’s important that no matter if we share our genes with them or not, that we realize that having the same genes doesn’t grant other the ability to dominate our time, our resources, our attention or our love. We should only spend time with others who fill our soul up in their presence and if a scammer drains us, it’s truly time to move on.
- The Disappearing Act: I hesitate to call this person a magician… because I love magicians. This person is more like a smoky mirror. Or The smoke itself. Their presence is sooo insignificant that it’s like they were almost never there… because emotionally they weren’t ever there. This is usually someone who shares some genes with you… (typically a father… I do apologize to all the good dad out there because I know you really do exist)… who thinks so little of you, that they just vanish.
- The Gardener Who Believes The Grass Is Greener On The Other Side: Someone who SAYS they love you… and they show you that they do… but for some reason you don’t feel it as much as you should. Well, mayyyyybe it’s because they prefer you over other people. It could be a mom who prefers one sibling over the others, a dad who prefers another women over their wife, a sibling who prefers their friends over their family… you get the point. I don’t know what’s worse… to have a disappearing act or to have a gardener in your life. Having to play the “second best” is not fun. It’s actually quite demoralizing. Imagining it is one thing. Knowing it is another. Having a family full of these people… well, it’s the epitome of a broken home. Sadly, many families have at least one gardener in their lives.
How To Be Coherent In Our Wants
Sometimes, the things we fight about and whine about have nothing to do with what we desire. In the food example above, we whine that our partner left the food out, but deep down we want consideration for our efforts.
Other times, we don’t ask for things as though we REALLY desire them.
For example, we complain that out reality is the opposite of what we want it to be. Yet the way that we often go about asking for what we want is twisted. We get mad when other people stress us out when all we want is peace. But the point is that we couldn’t ask for it without getting mad… which is obviously on the other spectrum of peace.
We gotta remember that we ask in several ways:
- Through our actual words
- Through our actions
- Through our receptivity
- Through our expectation
- Through our actual thoughts
Be Open To Receiving Your Wants From Yourself
Perhaps most ironically of all, we often demand the good things in life, like LOVE, when we are unable to prioritize loving ourselves.
We ask… but we are not willing to receive from ourselves. We think love has to come from outside of us instead from inside. But this mentality is as absurd as buying ourselves a Tiffany’s necklace and telling ourselves, “No, no, you can’t wear it, someone else needs to give it to you.”
Whatttt??? Why should we wait for other people to give us what we want (and I’m definitely referring to more attainable and necessary things than a Tiffany’s necklace)?
“The easiest way to have the good things in life is being open enough to receiving them from ourselves and being grateful, instead of resentful, that we loved ourselves enough to fulfill that desire.” – Haydee Montemayor
But then again, there are things that others can give us that would really fill us up…. not so much because of whatever we want is but because of the love that’s involved.
When we eat, let’s say, a cookie, what we are seeking is not the flour, we’re seeking the cookie as a whole.
That’s the way love is, we are not interested or obsessed with someone doing or failing to do something that we find considerate (like remembering to refrigerate the leftovers)…. what we want is love…. as a whole.
We don’t want flowers on our anniversary. we want to feel loved.
We don’t want whatever it is that we want for Christmas, we just want to feel important and loved enough that someone took the time to a) identify what we want and b) give it to us. It’s the transaction of someone having a loving thought and finalizing with a loving action that is the most important thing. Not the item itself.
How can we prove it? Because when you’re older and your grandaughter or grandson ask you, “What was your favorite gift?” You won’t go on and on and on about the features of the item itself. You’ll talk about how you felt when you received the gift. In other words, how you felt when you received the love.
Our best memories have feelings at their core, not things. – Haydee Montemayor
How To Effectively Ask For What You Want
Whether you have a runaway, a thief, a scammer, a disappearing act or a gardener in your life… you have to be smart about how you ask for what you want.
When we act incoherently as a desperate attempt to demand what we want, we block it from flowing to us. -Haydee Montemayor
In one of my prior posts, I shared how you should ask for things using words that clearly articulate what you feel without putting the blame on the other person.
After all, nobody wants to please another when they feel attacked.
How To Make Peace With the Fact That People May Or May Not Give You Your Wants
Life is funny in that it is always inviting us to want more. Not out of greed, but out of the hope that by having something, we’ll feel better. We truly believe this. That’s why we buy things based on the outcome we desire or the feeling we want to have once we have it. Most importantly, though, we’re wired to want. It’s part of our creative nature. We want to manifest.
With relationships, it’s quite similar because ultimately, we want to feel loved and cozy when other people give us what we want. However, as we all know, we can’t treat anybody like puppets and maneuver them so that we get all of our wants met.
We manifest love through our meaningful connection, not through manipulation. – Haydee Montemayor
In the end, though, we have to remember that it’s not all about us. We have to be empathic enough to know that people have genuine worries that prevent us from being the center of their attention. We have to give and receive.
Here are some pointers that will help us be more understanding when we don’t get it our way:
- Expectation: Realize that expectation is a two-way street. And just like you would like other people to give you what you’re seeking, other people are expecting for you to give them what they want. And sometimes we forget that, don’t we? So it’s definitely possible that they might not be giving you what you want because they’re super absorbed in their own desires.
- Be Patient: Treat other people as if they were your children. Give them a couple chances. When they let you down, don’t dismiss them as if they will never, EVER be able to please you.. Give them a second chance. Most likely, they’ll be happy to make you happy.
- You Get What You Expect: Remember the self-fulfilling prophecy that says, that what you expect from others is most likely what they’ll give you. If you expect them to nail it when it comes to giving you what you want, they will. If you expect them to fail, they will.
- There’s a Time To Fold: There’s a time to give up on people. Know that you can’t expect a totally different result from someone who consistently has given you the same old shiz.
- Count On Yourself: The older we become, the more capable we should be of meeting our wants and needs. You’re a big girl now, or a big boy. So for the love of all things holy, and out of self-love for yourself… don’t be a codependent.
Ask for what you want with class, not desperation. -Haydee Montemayor
How About You?
- How do you get your wants met?
- Have your perceptions of someone ever gotten in the way of your observation?
- Which of the 5 archetypes of hurtful people tend to show up the most in your life? What do you think this realization is trying to teach you?
- What was your biggest aha moment from this post
Pick your favorite question and answer it in the comments below. I would LOVE to hear what you have to say!
The Want/ Need Series
If you liked this post, feel free to visit the others in the series designed to teach you how to navigate the difficult waters of assuming responsibility for what you want, what you need and how to communicate those wants and needs.