Why do we want what we want? Do we, for example, really want to settle down or stay in our job, or is it that we think that it’s what we’re supposed to want to do at this particular point? In this week’s episode of The Baggage Reclaim Sessions, I talk about why us feeling panicked and pressured to be or do certain things or even feeling that we’re behind is a call for us to acknowledge whether we’re driven by preference or programming.

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Some nuggets from the episode:

  • Over the last several years, I’ve had periods of contemplating whether to have another child. Part of what drove my thought process was genuinely exploring what I wanted. But a lot of it was conditioning. I’d been programmed to believe that this is something I should want at this point. We’re, for example, conditioned to think that we should want a child because that’s what women of a certain age ‘should’ want.
  • Are you staying in the job because you want to? Or, is it because you absorbed the message that you stay in a ‘good job’ and collect your gold watch and video at sixty-five?
  • Staying in an unfulfilling job or relationship for an extended period of time drains our mojo.
  • Are you ticking boxes? These are means goals. They’re things that we pursue because society tells us that we ‘should’ want them and that they will make us happy.

Sometimes the reason why our parents (and other family members) pushed us to be and do certain things is because of what they didn’t have. They didn’t want us to ‘waste’ the opportunities that they feel they suffered and sacrificed for.

  • Some of us grew up being treated like an extension of one or both parents. Our feelings, thoughts, needs, wants, etc., we’re distinct from theirs. When we did ‘good’ things, they felt good, but if we didn’t meet their expectations, it was taken as a personal slight against them.
  • We might pursue certain wants to our parent. It might be because we know that it’s something they’d really love us to do. It could also be because we’re trying to right the wrongs of their past and complete their vision. Sometimes we’re trying to keep up with siblings, cousins, peers.
  • Opting, for example, the career our parent(s) want or making other big life decisions with the aim of making them happy often leads to pain and resentment. It’s not going to make us happy if we’re doing what might be ‘good’ things, but for the wrong reasons.

When we really want to do something that involves a sacrifice, it’s no longer a sacrifice; it’s an autonomous give.

  • We might not know what we want because we’ve always followed the rules. Others have always told us what we want or what we should want. This leaves us at a loss when we have to try and tune into ourselves. We can’t map it to a formula.
  • Burning ourselves out is an example of programming. Many of us are raised to believe that if we’re not struggling, we’re not being and doing enough. Or, it’s assumed that what we’re pursuing isn’t ‘worth it’.
  • ‘I’m supposed to…’ is a sign that we’re not operating by conscious choice and desire. I’m supposed be in a relationship with them because they’re a nice person. And even though we’re not compatible and my needs aren’t met by the relationship, my parents/church/friends like them.

We use our job, education, background, etc., and compare to similar people to determine what we think we ‘should’ be doing.

  • And sometimes we have a ‘People like me do things like this’ mentality. We judge us inaccurately and limit our opportunities and capabilities. We hold ourselves to a lower standard and a lesser vision.
  • Preference: What you do consciously. It’s based on your values.
  • Programming: Patterns. Doing stuff on autopilot.
  • If we have very specific ideas about when we should do things by, this is because of what we’re carrying around in our subconscious. Write down your ‘timeline’ of when things are supposed to happen and in what order: that’s programming.
  • Sometimes feeling bad about not getting what we say we want is about having something to give ourselves a hard time about. Rather than go for the thing that we really really want, we go for something we don’t want but that society tells us that we should, and then we get to give ourselves a hard time about not getting it even though we weren’t really trying to get it.

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Listener questions can be emailed to podcast AT baggagereclaim DOT com and if there’s a topic you’d love me to talk about, let me know!

Nat xxx

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