We want to avoid being present, because if we’re present for the good things, we have to be present for the bad ones, too.
This is usually the reason people have such a hard time with simply “being in the moment.” There is something “in the moment” that they’re running from… which is why they’re having a problem in the first place. Because the only thing that can be a problem at any given “moment” is something within you.
We’re afraid to reach the “end of the road.”
We are beings that are, literally, made to evolve. Emotionally, mentally, physically, universally. We were designed to change, and the ultimate resistance to that is only seeking out “end goals.” Because you won’t actually let yourself get there. Getting there feels like the equivalent of death. If we don’t realize that letting ourselves have what we want is the beginning of a journey, we don’t let ourselves have it. But we can’t regard something as the “beginning of a journey” unless it’s something we genuinely want to do each day (rather than just feel better with the idea of.) But more on that later.
We’re afraid of losing our identities.
We identify with pain. We become our struggle. We bond over what we hate. It’s the trifecta for unhappiness, and the more we sustain it, the harder it becomes to work our way out of. This is because we grow to identify with our problems. Who are we if we don’t have a battle to fight? It makes “being happy” seem boring, and undesirable. So we keep ourselves in a state of “wanting” and never “having.”
We’re afraid of people not loving us because we’re not broken and relatable anymore.
The main reason we keep ourselves small is because we think that it will make other people love us. If we’re helpless, someone will help us, if we have problems, we’re relatable, and accepted. Being a “happy person” who has what they want is not always being “the most liked person in the room,” but ultimately it’s a choice you have to make: to feed your own heart or other people’s insecurities.
We’ve trained ourselves to feel happy with the “wanting” not the “getting.”
We get stuck in these patterns in which we find our happiness in dreaming up the next big thing, in working toward it, in lusting after it, in feeling like “getting it” is this huge accomplishment. Then after the high has passed, it’s not interesting to us anymore. We’ve learned to be happy just wanting, never having.
Having what we want makes us more vulnerable than anything else in the world.
This is the simplest one in the book, yet usually the last thing people think of: when we have what we want, we’re vulnerable. We can lose it. If it’s not ours, then it’s always safe, because we never had it in the first place. (Goes without saying, but I think most people would ultimately prefer having something and losing it as opposed to never having it at all.)
We want certainty before we act – because we think this means emotional security.
A lot of the time, getting what we really want isn’t so far out of reach as it is just behind all of our self-imposed blocks, doubts and insecurities. We want certainty because when we’re certain that something is “right” or “meant to be,” it eliminates the risk of being devastated. If we know it’s already “right,” we can’t lose it. (We can, it’s delusion.)
We don’t want what we think we want.
We think we want a partner, but what we really want is to feel love for ourselves, and not need someone else to keep injecting good feelings into our lives for us. We think we want to lose weight, but what we really want is to feel secure, and to love our bodies for how they are. (Then maybe have the partner, and lose the weight.) We think we want a particular job, but what we really want is to feel affirmed by a title, or to feel supported or admired. For the most part, people do (and get) what it is they really want. The problem is only ever a matter of identifying what that honestly is – and why.