Yasmin Al-najar explores the intersection between racial injustice and sexual (and reproductive) liberation
Tell me what you want, what you really, really want…
This month, Ben Pechey explores the rewards of going after your true desires
When was the last time you experienced the feeling of wanting, really wanting, something? To want is an emotional desire we all experience, from basic human needs, to heady thoughts of being a CEO. There is nothing unnatural about wanting anything, yet throughout our lives, we have been conditioned to think that such thoughts are ugly and unbecoming.
The phrase ‘I want doesn’t get’ was oft used on me as a child, trying to teach me to be less impulsive. Yet I believe it to be a fundamentally flawed phrase when applied to adult life.
None of us should ever worry about being viewed as unbecoming, which sounds like a phrase lifted directly from a Jane Austen novel, because wanting something is a good thing at its core. Wanting will help us attain our goals. Want, for want of a better word, is a naked desire, a thing that we have a passion to acquire or experience. Wanting is nothing short of a gut instinct, an impulse perhaps. But just because we can see gut instincts as snap decisions shouldn’t automatically mean that they are a bad thing. Perhaps we just need to shift the way we think about desires and alter the way we treat them in our lives.
Fear of being found wanting
For me, and for many others, the worry about the logistics of attaining what we want could perhaps best be described as fear. The fear of achieving what I want holds me back, and I spend longer thinking about moving in on that desire. I end up scaring myself away from action, sometimes resulting in listlessness when I am aiming for productivity. I am not a resolutions kind of person, as I said in my latest IGTV, but I do believe in changing negative behaviours when they present themselves, and this is the perfect opportunity, so let’s do this!
I was made aware of how much fear holds us back, and why failure should never be a hurdle for attainment, as always in situations like this, via Twitter. If you have seen any of the press surrounding the recent Cats movie, you will get the vibe exactly. The tweet said, “Cats lost $85 million, and you’re afraid to send a pitch”.
Indeed, Tom Hooper, who directed Cats, clearly believed that the project would work. The possibility of success pushed any doubt away, and while we have an arguably not-so-great film, it will be notorious and quite possibly a cult classic.
As a freelance creator, I cannot tell you how many great opportunities I have missed out on because I have not had the courage of my convictions to send a pitch across. Why? It’s not because I cannot pitch – how do you think I got this gig? I think my missed opportunities have been rooted in fear. I have been afraid to admit to myself that I want to write for that publication or to own the concept, that I am good enough for this opportunity.
The danger of prioritising pride
We are proud people. We expend a large amount of energy in image conservation. When we don’t achieve what we wanted, we worry about the ramifications on other people’s perceptions of our strengths, thus changing the way they see us. Perhaps in not stating what we really want, we imagine that in some way we are saving face. This would reduce the risk of perceived failure, and only present the best versions of ourselves to the world.
If I could urge you to leave any behaviours behind in 2019, then it would be worrying about what other people think of you. It does not matter. No one knows who we truly are, and so long as we are happy with our existence, that is all that should count. Which is why it is so important to go out and get what we want – because we only have one life which we should be living to the fullest, and that means listening to our desires.
As humans, we are taught to be humble, to play down our dreams, ambition and lust. Yet these behaviours are all markers associated with the journey to success. I don’t need to remind you that we need a balance of all driving forces in our life, but I am adamant we all have more room to get what we want and be the truest version of ourselves.
I will, at this juncture, sound a note of caution. If you have massive reservations about doing anything, then you should take note and apply that to your thought process. Doing something for the sake of it is not the best idea either, nor is discounting an idea, simply because at its core the objective is to achieve something we want. We should employ a blend of factors when considering the trajectory of our lives.
So, the next time you come to a fork in the road of your life, be a little bit more selfish, weigh up your options, and consider picking the route that you truly want, because it is a healthy thing to do. I often use music in my writing, and I will use the infamous words of girl power legends the Spice Girls to help you make decisions. So, tell me what you want, what you really, really want…