I don't know what I want in life!
Undoubtedly, this expression is a revelation that imposes itself with anguish and desperation in the lives of many people going through periods of confusion or young individuals who are venturing into the world for the first time in search of fulfillment.
When we don't know what we want, we are overcome by an agonizing feeling, a void, a lack of purpose and meaning. We falsely perceive that everyone around us knows which path to take while we remain stranded like a rusty ship in the mud.
Approaching this stage of confusion as a process rather than a lasting state helps us avoid tormenting ourselves.
Keeping in mind that everything passes, everything arrives, and everything changes is the best attitude to avoid dramatizing and maintain a calm mind.
When we believe that this state must be eradicated as soon as possible, we confuse the urgent with the important, and in an emotional frenzy, we start looking around and following others. But the path shown by others often leads to security, not happiness. That is why many people end up in an existential crisis where they no longer know which way to move forward, and on top of that, they feel exhausted. Acting purely out of repetition is never a good decision.
It is better to embrace uncertainty and find our own path than to seek refuge in a secure place where everyone else is, knowing deep inside that it brings discomfort and a sense of self-betrayal.
Knowing what one wants is only suitable for the brave!
When someone burdened by uncertainty, immersed in confusion, and bewildered by their contradictions shares their feelings with others, there are those who lightly respond, "You don't know what you want in life!" And I would ask those who casually drop such a conclusion, isn't it an extraordinary ambition to have clarity and no doubt about the path one wants to take?
Answering the question "What do I want in life?" is very difficult!! It is an arduous aspiration that takes time and maturity. It is not a lucid revelation in a moment of inspiration that leaves no room for doubt, nor is it a magical manifestation that imposes itself once and for all without hesitation.
Knowing what one wants in life is a daily, ongoing construction, with moments of clarity and clouds of indecision and perplexity.
We should not view our lives in terms of feats and accomplishments. Recognizing ourselves as humans, vulnerable and somewhat erratic, allows us to make mistakes without condemning ourselves.
Knowing what we want is not a straight ascending line; it is a spiral in which we sometimes get dizzy, and making mistakes is part of the process of building what is and what is not.
The first recommendation is to stop experiencing the search for internal answers with mortification and shame for not having it all figured out. On the contrary, those who find themselves at this crossroads are the most evolved individuals who dare to ask themselves questions instead of comfortably following the herd's guidelines.
The wisest action is to become an observer and explorer of oneself without tension. When we embark on the journey of building an authentic life, love and patience are the treatment we need to give ourselves. It is essential to give ourselves time to realize. This does not mean remaining immobilized or on pause until we have everything in life figured out. Much of the confusion becomes clearer as we move forward, just as the fog clears on the path as we advance.
Taking a hesitant first step is much more valuable than a great leap after years of stagnation.
Therefore, acting on the small things within our reach is the ideal strategy for the larger things that are no longer within our grasp to occur. What we do today undoubtedly shapes the life we are gradually choosing. In that sense, we are ancestors of ourselves. We inherit what we have sown in our past.
Just as a painting begins with a brushstroke, the chosen life begins with each action taken with full consciousness.
Just as a painter looks at their painting and finds something different from what they first imagined, the same happens in life, where what we imagine helps us take the first steps but is not always a faithful reflection of the result.
Just as a painter stops longing for the mental image and loves the completed work, we should admire what we have made possible instead of remaining attached to an unattainable ideal.
Tying oneself to the ship to resist the sirens' songs
It's not easy to know what we want in an environment that constantly bombards us with false stimuli and promises of happiness that are true scams. Discernment is an ancient Eastern tool to use in those moments when we are most vulnerable to buying into what our more lucid part knows is not true.
What we want for our lives is not something we have to seek outside. Searching is only justified when what we want to find already exists.
What we need to be clear about is that what each of us wants for our life is something to be built, it doesn't exist beforehand as if it were a predetermined destiny.
The path is made by walking, that's why we can't live life in terms of right or wrong choices, as there is not a single correct path and others are not. There are infinite possibilities, and all are valid if the intention is grounded in doing well and growing. Whether it turns out as we desire or not is no longer in our hands, but by acting with the attitude of doing good to ourselves, we will reach a good place and make far fewer mistakes.
The important thing is to feel that we give our best in each attempt to find clarity. If we act half-heartedly or without commitment, we won't know if what we chose didn't suit us or if it was our way of relating to it that didn't work.
How to begin clarifying the confusion
There is much we can do to avoid getting stuck or adrift for too long...
- Without a doubt, the first step is to learn to self-observe. Stop looking around and focus on the only raw material we have at our disposal: the person we are and can become.
- Self-observation is followed by a faithful commitment to work each day towards being at peace with ourselves. A troubled mind ceases to be creative. Only when our minds are serene and calm do we have the energy to invest in what leads us to self-improvement. Fertility never thrives in a sterile, idle, or worry-filled mind. Being at peace with ourselves also means learning to live in honesty. Differentiating when we are justifying ourselves and when we are telling the truth, when we are practicing intelligent waiting and when we are merely engaged in sterile procrastination. Working to be at peace is acting in accordance with our fundamental values and being true to ourselves by speaking the truth and avoiding self-deception.
- Trust that invisible virtue generates visible rewards. Focus on giving your best in whatever you are doing at this moment. Don't wait for the ideal moment to exercise your full potential, and don't underestimate the place you are in. Starting from where you are is the best way to begin building a meaningful and fulfilling life. Honor each place, each situation, or state that we pass through. Over time, life shows us that nothing is in vain or redundant, that everything serves the purpose of our evolution.
- Lower the demands and embrace the process. Taking things step by step is not only the best but also the only realistic way to approach the idea of what one wants. We realize what we want while we are living in the "meantime." Life doesn't begin when we say, "Eureka! This is what I want!" Life is not less valuable in unclear moments. Knowing that life is a continuous oscillation where sometimes we feel up and other times down helps us not to take moments of glory or failure too seriously.
- Learn to say no to what we already know is a no. Sometimes we try again and again, expecting a different outcome. However, an intelligent way to approach what we want is to discard what we already know we don't want. Investing energy in trying to like what we don't like is an unnecessary drain that we can avoid. Sometimes we return to what is easy and safe, and that later becomes the heaviest burden to carry, with the added feeling of having wasted time insisting on what we already knew was not right.
- Rest your mind and open your senses. What we want is felt much more than it is thought. If you live solely in your mind, you lose touch with what your body and all your senses tell you. Intuition is a wonderful tool that we can train and sharpen to use in our life choices. It is important to note that when we talk about intuition, discernment is crucial to avoid deceiving ourselves.
- Get inspired. Perhaps it helps to observe the lives of those we admire. Seeking role models is not about copying or being less original. Having role models of what we want is very beneficial and hopeful. The questions we should ask ourselves are: Whom do we admire? How did those people reach the place we desire? What qualities do they possess? How can we develop them within ourselves? In psychology, this tool is called modeling.
- Work to feel admiration for yourself. When we overcome a fear, take a step beyond our comfort zone, or move a piece to bet on our growth, we feel an internal pride that empowers us and gives us confidence to keep moving in the desired direction. These internal battles won, which each person keeps silently, are the true feats we should aim for. No prize surpasses the well-being felt when one overcomes an internal barrier.
All wisdom can be summed up in just two lines: do what you must do, and let the rest happen
There is a thin line between exerting willpower and forcing events, between clinging to control and delegating one's strength to what we later call fate with fatalism.
Continuing to walk and consciously opening the doors presented to us with commitment and responsibility often leads us to the answer that troubles us: What do we want in our life? And finally, I invite you to ask yourselves this question: What is each one of us willing to give?
A life with great rewards requires great risks. Sometimes we desire immense satisfaction, yet we are unwilling to even move a pin from its place out of fear or laziness.
When we feel too stuck or confusion hinders our vision, a smart initial decision is to seek help in navigating this path that awakens so much anxiety.