You Have To Want It

2 08 2010

You have to want it. Plain and simple. And you have to want it more than you want to avoid it. Any shift or change, especially with things that have been long held or deep seeded, requires more than just a need and desire. It has to be vitalized emotionally with a positive resolve and clear determination to follow it all the way through.

Exercising regularly and keeping to a healhy diet are clear examples of this. All the New Years resolutions and gym memberships aren’t enough. You have to WANT to work out more than you want to avoid it, and that may mean facing a set of fears or inner conflicts that get in your way. And in the area of nutrition, it means making hard choices and accepting certain inconveniences. Organic produce is more expensive and there really are no drive thrus that serve up healthy food. But are these inconveniences worth it? Is it too much trouble to properly take care of your body now, compared to the inevitable health problems that will arise later if you don’t?

Knowledge is not enough, either. Just knowing you ‘should’ cultivate a new habit is not as powerful as really wanting to do it. Saying you want to do it is only lip service unless it’s followed with decisive action. Often those things that seem most difficult to change also are complicated with a deeply held belief system – one in which you may not be fully aware. For example, if you want to make more money, but deep inside you’ve adopted the idea that money is ‘bad’ or is the root of evil or that people with money are greedy – and since you don’t want to be bad or perceived as greedy – then you will thwart any attempt to gain financially, keeping it just out of reach. This belief may seem ridiculous to your intellect, but emotionally, it may be lurking in the shadows, ready to rise up just when progress is finally being made.

The “father of American psychology,” William James, described the difference in effectiveness between intellect and emotion. To paraphrase: When it comes down to a struggle between your rational (intellect) and passional (emotion) natures, the passional always wins.

Self reliance requires such changes in both behavior and belief. I have to want it more than I want to sustain habits of codependency or the ‘need’ to seek permission, acceptance or approval of others. Branching out on my own may require a ‘betrayal’ of my current situation, and with it, all the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,” to quote the Bard.

The question remains, do I want it, really want it that much that I’m able to endure such difficulties? Stay tuned…

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