woman leaning on wall

The Unedited Truth About Getting What You Want

I have a theory. Maybe, when we want something, we unknowingly send out a message.

To the world maybe, to the universe, as a prayer to God. And maybe we are given what we want.

Think about those moments when something feels too good to be true. An unreal moment where you get what you’ve wished to have forever, and it is finally just falling into your lap.

“This is everything I’ve ever wanted.”

It might even feel meant to be. Like magic.

Then suddenly, without warning, it all falls apart. Maybe you can’t even point out exactly what went wrong, or maybe everything did. Maybe nothing went wrong at all, but it doesn’t feel like you thought it would.

Maybe we get what we want, but it’s not what we thought. This is because what we want is often confused with what we need, but we don’t know this until we get exactly what we asked for.

Neuroscience shows us the truth of this in the way that our brain can respond to something we desire and make us want it even more without responding with pleasure. How can this be? Isn’t it that we want something because it makes us feel good? Sometimes. But is it always true that we are happy when we get what we want? For a moment perhaps, but moments always end.

It isn’t what we truly need.

So, when we get what we want and it isn’t what we need, we know. The recognition may be quiet, but it is there.

And next time, what we want is just a bit different. When we get what we want this time, the magic begins to be accompanied by peace. The feeling of this is too good to be true is slowly replaced by this is good and this is true.

Until eventually, what we want and what we need are aligned.

Hello! I’m a recent UW-Madison graduate finding my way in the world :)

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