Rachel Perry: What do you really want?
New Wing Facade at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, NY.
Every day for seventeen years, this question has been my litmus test. I remember the first day I asked it, wanting a different life than the one I currently had. Wanting to be a better person than the one I was. I sat in a bathtub full of water that was no longer warm, for hours, rubbing my feet along the faucet nozzle, staring blankly at the wall.
I haven’t stopped thinking about it since.
Before we can figure out how to get where we want to go, we first have to understand how we ended up where we already are. Different actions are the key for new results. We must work against the grain and resist our patterned tendencies. This requires painstaking, disciplined sacrifice.
Mistakes will be made. Forgiveness is required. Loving yourself, a must.
Over the years, through trial and error, I’ve gotten better at asking myself this seemingly innocent question, What do I really want? Over time I’ve treated myself with greater seriousness in listening to my response. I’ve grown savvier to my habits of distraction. My acquired taste for derailment. Self sabotage is something I can be proficient at. But even if it takes a while, I do catch myself straying back to my old habits, and like a scornful and wise parent, direct myself back to where I need to be instead of where I want.
Eventually, over time, I even began to believe that I am deserving of what I want.
We all are.
But not without the work. Not without honesty. Not without heartbreak and disappointment and some serious tough love.
We don’t change by just deciding we want to.
We change by holding our feet to the flames. By calling ourselves out when we try to slip back to what is comfortable yet no longer serves us. When we hold back a part of ourselves, or who we really want to be, to please others or to keep them around longer just to spare ourselves the stabbing pain of disappointment and the hallowing feeling of rejection.
But we know we are only delaying the inevitable. Whats meant to be will be. We cannot change fate. We cannot lie to ourselves and still expect to get to our final destination of fulfillment and content.
As much as we want to control the strings and tell the world where we want to end up and who we want to end up with, the world has it’s own plans for us. The best things we can do is open our arms, surrender, and be true to our hearts.
The rest will come, whatever it may be.
What do you really want? Are you brave and bold enough to grab it?