The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

What we want

It is astonishingly complicated to describe what we want.

One reason for this is, that it is a trained behavior. As we grow up, we learn the many things we should not want. There are the things that may be frowned upon by others when it is not clear if the want is “socially acceptable”. There are the things that we would love to do but others perceive as out of reach. There are the things that look dangerous to others and must therefore be forbidden.

As parents help their children grow up they seek to protect them from failure, from being hurt or disappointed. And sometimes they simply don’t know how much can be learned and how little relevance talent has when it comes to getting started.

The protection they offer becomes the future limitations. They create a protective buffer around whatever it is we really want inviting us to settle with something less than what we really want. The tension between both makes it harder to find a clear description of what it is that we want.

Once you’ve given yourself an answer to what it seems that you want, take a second look. Can you see what it is that you really want instead of the first want you named?

But there is more to it. There is a second challenge to what we want.

First of all, to be able to want something we have to know it. But knowing it only opens a door for our imagination. A fact about life is, that it is not possible to repeat an experience. Consequently wanting something involves reimagining that experience in a new context.

It’s only afterward that we’ll know if it was what we wanted.

A different approach to figuring out what we want is to be curious about the experience to come. It’s by stepping into it and exploring it that you will discover how it resonates with you. Give yourself some time to explore and deal with the uncertainty.


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