Wednesday, May 06, 2009

what we really want

In "How To Stop the Pain: Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional," James Richards explains control is never taken from us; we give it away. We give control to others in order to get what we really want. When I was in my twenties a co-worker and I were talking about people in general and why they do what they do. He made a statement that has stayed with me and I've found to be true to life. It was that people only do what they really want to do.

Now, at first, I thought this was a ridiculous thing to say and there must certainly be exceptions and circumstances that determine and even govern what people do. I mean, c'mon, we don't always get to do what we really want. Sometimes I really don't want to do the dishes. But hang in there and I'll try to explain.

When our kids were young and we were very (extremely) faithful about attending church, nearly every Sunday RL and I would argue about being late to church. I hate being late. He would get up late and I would try to hurry him along and we would argue and we would be late. I didn't want to be late and I didn't want to fight and I didn't want to be stressed out going to church. What I really wanted was for us to all go to church together.

I complained about this weekly fued to someone once and they said, "Leave without him. If you don't want to be late just go on without him." Well this isn't what I really wanted. I really wanted us to go to church together. If I left without him, sure, we wouldn't be late but we also wouldn't all be going together. But one day, I decided that what I really wanted was to not argue. And so I left without him. I can't begin to tell you how that changed my life, but it was incredible!

People only do what they really want to do.

So why do some people continue to do things that make their lives miserable? Because there is something that results in them getting what they want. I wanted us to go to church together, despite the turmoil it caused. I know people who say they really don't want to be in debt, but let their spouse nearly run them into financial ruin just so there's "peace" in the house. They will tell you they really want to save money and stick to a budget. But what they really want to do is "keep the peace" and that's why they're always in debt.

Remember those dishes I don't want to do? Well, I will do them, because what I really want is to have a clean kitchen. There are a lot of things we do that we think we don't want to do, but if we look at it a little differently we'll see we only do what we really want to.-- we just have to figure out what is we really want.


for a different kind of girl said...

I'm not sure if this is in the same vein or not, but the other night, after a bit of a disagreement, my husband told me, "You know I don't like to tell you no, anyway." Here's the thing, though - I don't really ask for much, and what I had been asking for took him months to even respond to. That he thinks everything he does has to please me isn't really how I was approaching things. It wasn't what I really wanted, and I certainly don't want him to think I need to be treated like I can't cope with disappointment.

Anonymous said...

For many years now I have said that choices are like picking up small sticks by one end. The other end of the stick is the consequence (good, bad, or indifferent) that comes with the choice.

Jeff said...

What you seem to be saying (and I agree with) is that we are far more Machiavellian than we let on. (Machiavelli was famous for expressing the idea that "the end justifies the means.")

In other words, the only reason we do things we don't want to do is as a means to another end. I mowed the lawn today because I don't want to get black-listed by my neighbors.

Unfortunately, this same attitude can carry over into other parts of our lives: relationships, business ethics, government.

Slippery slope...

Kristi said...

It's amazing what we do and feel on a subconscious level. Introspection is both beautiful (because you learn about yourself and your motives) and dangerous (because you find out things you didn't want to know about yourself and those around you). I've learned from my codependency book that we sometimes look to others to define our happiness, when we really can only do that for ourselves.

Xavier said...

Choice. That bugger's been messing with us since the time of creation.