Don’t fake the answer to this question…
I have three kiddos all fairly close in age (7, 6, and 4 yrs old). Recently, my youngest, Brian, has started to “copy” everything my oldest, Jackson, wants.
For example, before he says what flavor ice cream he wants, he has to know what Jackson has ordered.
Before he asks for a crayon, he checks what color Jackson is using.
Before he gets dressed, he wants to see what Jackson is wearing.
I think it’s adorable…but it drives Jackson nuts. 🙂
One afternoon in the middle of one of these “decision-making” conversations, I started to really listen more deeply with Brian.
I began to ask him, “Brian, what flavors would you really enjoy tasting right now.
Try not to think about what Jackson is getting –– that is going into his mouth, with his taste buds — what are your taste buds wanting to taste right now?”
And he began to tear up in frustration.
He just didn’t know what he wanted.
And then it struck me. That is okay. That is perfectly, perfectly okay.
Sometimes…we don’t know what we want.
I read the article Elizabeth Gilbert wrote for O magazine recently about “How to be Happier”.
It’s a great piece on the messiness of having the courage to ask for what we want…even if a failure or “no” may be at the end of the question.
But as I read it, I kept thinking…sometimes the scariest part isn’t asking for what you want…the scariest part is the admitting you don’t know what you want and making the choice to take the journey to figure that out.
What do you want?
What do you truly want- personally, deeply, authentically?
How do you want to feel?
How do you want to spend your time?
What supports do you want in your life?
How do you want your relationships to feel?
What experiences are you yearning for?
What dreams are truly yours?
What adventures are you craving?
These are hard questions.
And that’s a good thing.
I think we’re meant to dig deep and work to get the answers. In fact, we aren’t meant to answer these question in our heads. Finding the answers is actually a process that happens when we’re out there experimenting and exploring in real life.
It’s easier to look around and grab someone else’s answer and call it a day.
But then, what happens is you end up building your life based on another person’s favorite flavor of ice cream. And you begin to realize somewhere along the way that you aren’t actually living your own life after all.
Sometimes admitting we don’t necessarily know what we want is the most courageous part of it all.
Once we become okay with the fact that we don’t know what we truly want right now and take it as an invitation to discover what that is…failure becomes a non-issue.
You’re just answering a question.
Where in your life are you a little embarrassed or discouraged because, if the truth were told, you actually don’t know what you want anymore?
Let’s see if we can flip the script on that.
What if you gave yourself permission to admit it?
What if you decided that it’s totally normal not to know what you want.
What if you saw it as an invitation to find out more about who you are right now and what your true wants are?
From that perspective…what would be your first step?
How would you begin to figure out your truest wants?
What would feel exciting and fun as you scan the wide open horizon and consider all the ways you could come closer to the answer?
That’s the first step, in fact, THAT is really the answer all along.
The answer is what will keep you moving and growing and journeying instead of defaulting to answers that aren’t really yours or staying stuck for fear of floating for a little without clear direction.
So here is to those of us who wander…because like J.R.R. Tolkien says,
“Not all those who wander are lost.”