If you’ve insisted that you need certain things in order to be happy and yet experience has taught you otherwise, compassionately examine what this communicates about your values and needs. Sure, you’ve had ideas, theories, about what you want and need, but these experiences have put your hypothesis to the test. They’ve communicated that something isn’t stacking up. You weren’t getting to be who you really are, or the components didn’t lead to your desired outcome. Or… your needs weren’t met. It’s possible that you were selling yourself short.

For example, think about the way we talk about the ideal job or relationship partner. We express our understanding and awareness of our needs and values at that time. This includes what we think it will take to make us happy or to co-create a loving relationship or experience job satisfaction. But our awareness and understanding of what we need and want are supposed to evolve. For all we know, our outlook reflects outdated and unsupportive notions that block our healing, growth and happiness.

If your predictions for how to fulfil your needs and wants haven’t proved to be accurate, use the feedback to better serve you. What does the situation tell you about your needs and values?

Criticising you because your expectations differed from reality isn’t helpful. You won’t make the best use of this invaluable feedback that will help you shift towards honouring who you are and want to be.

It doesn’t mean offloading your preferences altogether. People often get super defensive about their tastes and preferences, not realising that you can have these plus your character. Sure, have your tastes, pay attention to what you view as your criteria. But you also need to be willing to learn and adapt. Notice biases and generalisations.

To shift towards honouring who you are and want to be, you need to acknowledge and align with your priorities. All of your experiences, both good and bad, are helping you refine your values so that you can become more of who you really are and choose the right people, experiences and opportunities for you.

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