How to live out our desires without limitations
We are torn between our desires and the limitations imposed on us. Life continuously poses us challenges and we have to decide which ones to ignore and which ones to face. However, on exceptional occasions we go through extreme situations. These situations put us to the test and in many cases they show us that we are much stronger than we thought.
In other cases, our desires never come true and we have no idea why. In this article we’ll try and find out some of the reasons behind this. If you read on, you’ll discover where these inexplicable limitations come from and why they prevent us from achieving what we long for.
“Our desire despises and abandons what we have in order to run after what we do not have.”
-Michel de Montaigne-
Satisfying our desires
First of all, we need to realise that our desires come about as a result of us wanting to attain something we haven’t got. Sometimes this is simply the fact that we want something to be a certain way, or to have it at a certain time in our life. In addition, we somehow feel that whatever this thing is, it’s missing in our life and we feel we need it, despite the limitations.
Filling this gap means we have to put some sort of methodology or a strategy into practice. If we succeed, everything is fine. The problem arises when we notice that we didn’t quite get what we expected. What we thought we wanted so much wasn’t really what we wanted.
This result is just as frustrating as when we’ve worked really hard to reach a personal goal and haven’t managed to achieve it. In fact, sometimes we never satisfy the desires that we fight the most for. As much as we put into practice all the resources we have at our disposal, we just don’t seem to move forward. Our goals and objectives always seems to be just out of our reach.
It is as if reality were insisting on going in the opposite way to our intuition and our reasoning. As much as we seek we never seem to find that goal. So what is actually happening in the background? What is that insurmountable obstacle that means we can´t overcome our limitations?
Messages that infect our desires
Very often we aren’t sure what we really want. We not only let ourselves be influenced by collective desires, expressed in advertising for example, but also by the comments of family and friends. The truth is that, although these comments may be made with the best of intentions, they may not reflect our real needs.
The family is often like an assembly line of expectations. From the moment we are born, a kind of “ideal” is carved out for us. If we are the oldest in the household, then we have our responsibilities. If we are the youngest, we have to toe the line. And so on with different statuses, such as gender or appearance. The things the family is going through when we come into the world also greatly influences our lives.
When it comes down to it, we are the result of other people’s desires. It is a desire that made our life possible. To some degree we were wanted, as otherwise we probably wouldn’t have been born. And if that same desire hadn’t continued then we wouldn’t have survived those first years either.
However, the desire that brought us into being is not always a clear nor a healthy one. Despite this, at the start of our lives we had no alternative but to bend ourselves to the wishes of others. Part of the process of growing up is to free ourselves from that yoke, and to understand the desire that made our lives possible. And also to define to what extent these expectations coincide with our personal ideals and limitations.
Dos and don’ts
We live in a world where it seems that everyone is capable of issuing an expert opinion about what our wishes should be. Of course all of this depends greatly on where we live and the environment we grew up in. The good and the bad, what should be desired and what should not, are decided to some extent even before we are born.
During childhood a series of rights and wrongs are written into our lives. Some of them are very clear. They tell you what you “should” be like. They reward you when you adapt your life to their standards, and punish you if you don’t. This way you learn certain patterns of behavior that, by being drilled into you, end up becoming a habit. In addition to this repertoire of direct commands, there is also a whole set of disguised commands that are much harder to pin down.
Imagine a mother consoling her son who is feeling incredibly sad. You see them and, without her saying anything to you, you somehow feel as if you owe her something. Maybe she expects you to comfort them, to release her from her frustration, her loneliness or her pain. Maybe that is what she is trying to get across to you. And so, without hardly realizing it, you take on board her expectations as an unconscious command for your life.
In the same way, it is likely that whoever has a mother like this will also experience difficulties in defining and fulfilling their own desires. They will feel that on seeking their own independence they will be hurting their mother’s feelings. Or that if they are happy then they are betraying her. But since all this is happening subconsciously, they are probably not even aware of it. This feeling is often just reflected in them undermining themself, in hesitancy and in a life devoid of any goals.
Winning the battle between desires and limitations
If you feel you’re not able to define what your desires are, it is very likely that one or more of these subconscious commands are at work in your life. The same applies when we have properly defined a desire, but, as much as we strain to fulfill it, we are never able to.
The keys to understanding what is happening to you may be in your childhood. And in the wishes and desires of those around you. You may be able to actually identify some of the expectations that were carved out for you. You may have been able to consciously reject them and separate yourself from them.
To win the battle between your conscious desires and the subconscious limitations imposed on you, you must first identify those hidden forces at work in your life. To do this you will need to carry out a self-examination, thus enabling therapeutic help to become a valuable ally in these situations. This is usually a very successful way of allowing you to locate your limitations. You can then become truly aware of them and limit their power in your life.
Images courtesy of Ammy Judd and F. Infante