How We Shut Down What We Want

One thing I’ve learned about myself in the last year or so is how much I shut down what I want.

Somehow the world taught me that what I want is not acceptable, that I should only want what seems reasonable, doable, or won’t inconvenience others.

So I rarely even acknowledge that I want something. I shut it down.

Here are just some of the reasons I tell myself I don’t want something:

  • It’s not possible, so I don’t really want it.
  • I don’t think I can achieve it, so focus on the doable.
  • Others might be able to do it, but I can’t.
  • I don’t have the discipline to stick to this, I can’t trust myself.
  • I don’t have the money for it, it would be irresponsible.
  • I don’t have time, I’m too busy.
  • I would feel guilty if I allowed myself to have this.
  • Other people would judge me if I gave this to myself.
  • The other person would reject me if I asked for it.
  • It’s too complicated.
  • It’s not worth all the effort.
  • I shouldn’t want this.

Do any of these sound familiar to you? Wanting something has become laden with judgment, fear, guilt, and self-doubt. And so we shut it down.

What if we could have whatever we wanted?

What could you own that you want, regardless of whether you could actually have it?

What would you do if you decided you were going to make it happen?

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Leo Babauta is a simplicity blogger & author. He created Zen Habits, a Top 25 blog with a million readers. He’s also a best-selling author, a husband, father of six children, and a vegan. In 2010 moved from Guam to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he leads a simple life.

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Alex Knight
Alex Knight
10 days ago

This resonates with me. Thank you, Leo.