What all of us want is to be joyful and fulfilled, right? Yet, this is an abstract concept. I might love singing, which you might find nothing but dreadful.
This brings three reflections:
- Do you know what brings you joy?
- Do you allow yourself to fully rejoice in the things that bring you joy on daily basis?
- Do you know what you truly want — and do you go after it?
These reflections will show you 1) how much you actually know yourself, 2) how much you allow yourself to be, and 3) the disconnection between what you say and what you live.
When we catch ourselves not being aligned with ourselves with these answers, what we see is that we have much more confusion within us than we think.
The thing is, when we lack clarity nothing is ever enough and nothing lives up to its expectation, for, well, that’s what confusion does. And so, we don’t know what we want because we are confused. But why is that?
A major (and unexpected) reason for our confusion is lack of self-love and self-acceptance.
It’s pretty hard to be in love with life and live the life of your dreams without self-love and self-acceptance, and there are multiple reasons for this.
There is a lot to unpack here so let me explain better.
First, lack of self-love and self-acceptance makes us think we want a bunch of things that we don’t truly want — and constantly question ourselves. They make us chase things to compensate for low self-esteem or for caring too much for external approval. They make us reactive and follow the status quo, in eager neediness. The result is that word we know so well: confusion.
We get that car to be someone, we want our boss’ approval to compensate for our lack of self-esteem, and we want a safe relationship to deal with our insecurity.
This is all unconscious, of course. If this was conscious, the problem would be much easier to tackle. We actually think we want these things and don’t fully grasp the emptiness that we hold in even after getting what we say we want.
Unconsciously, we do a bunch of things for others, to protect our vulnerability and low self-esteem, instead of actually increasing our happiness. Pay attention to your true reasons and intentions, and we might get into something.
And here is the second layer of lack of self-love: acting deprived of self-acceptance creates a veil that prevents us from seeing who we are and what we really want. That’s the veil of confusion.
Confusion is nothing but fear acting out of self-protection and self-preservation.
Because truly, we know what we want — we just have a big issue acknowledging it. And so we keep acting out of fear without even realizing it.
Love feels the fear, understands the fear, is compassionate towards the fear — but does it anyway.
Without self-connection and clarity, it’s pretty hard to know what we truly want.
Without self-love and self-acceptance, it’s impossible that anything will fulfill us.
And so we don’t get what we want — cause what we really want is a version of ourselves that doesn’t exist yet. A connected, joyful, loving version. And this version actually doesn’t need to rely on so many external gadgets for its happiness.
The result: nothing is ever enough. There’s a constant disappointment, constant chase, and constant discomfort leading us to never stop and fully look into ourselves and what is going on, for it is just too painful.
And so, we never get to live the life we want
Don’t worry, you are not alone: the majority of society suffers from this. This is, in fact, reinforced in every corner of modern society.
We live in a society that thrives on us not fully accepting and loving ourselves, for this is not good for an economy based on business growth through consumption.
People who truly love and accept themselves are at peace. They don’t need to impress and compare themselves to others all the time. As a result, ads, social pressure, others’ opinions, and status drivers don’t affect them to the same extent, so they don’t need to consume so much. They don’t use external validation as a compass.
Confused people, on the other hand, are very easy to play around with, for they can’t stand firmly on their own ground.
The things that prevent you from going all in after you truly want, such as fear of failure, of being judged, or judging yourself are all in the same wagon: it’s about the importance you attribute to the outside, for there’s a lack of acceptance and tolerance within you with yourself.
On top of that, an extremely individualistic and repressed society has made it embarrassing to acknowledge traditional needs of wanting “prince charming”, having more love and affection, leading to even more repression and a sense of shame.
And so we either don’t allow ourselves to see what we truly want, or we downplay it, saying it is silly, impossible, weird.
That’s lack of self-acceptance, self-love, self-compassion, and self-understanding.
Back to where we began
What we all want is to be joyful and fulfilled, but that’s an abstract concept. What is not abstract is that to live fulfilled and joyfully is to live in love with life.
What is implicit here is that to know what you want you need to accept and love yourself.
The more you downplay and disregard your heart, the harder it is to know what you want.
Lack of self-love = Struggle
As long as we are coming from a place of not being fine with ourselves, we struggle with ourselves and look for ways to compensate for our own self-criticism and judgment. And so, we look for external things to be our saviors, for we still want that joy and fulfillment.
Worse than that, when we have a glimpse of what we truly want, our lack of self-love makes us think that what we really want is not feasible and out of our reach — so we don’t try hard enough to live up to what we want.
And so, we continue to downplay ourselves.
Thoughts like these ones emerge: No one that I can fully trust will ever love me, so let me settle right here, with this highly unsatisfactory sexual life in this relationship. Or why write that book that is full of work and failure potential if we can just go to that new restaurant tonight?
With a lack of self-acceptance, it is hard to admit what we want and surrender to it when underneath it we doubt we are good enough and worth it.
And just like that, we get stuck, doing a bunch of things but not really getting anywhere.
We know there’s more joy, but for others — not us.
Lack of self-love and self-acceptance makes us utterly confused and in denial. It feels like we want different things all the time, we question ourselves, we get something just to see it wasn’t what we expected, and so we just settle.
That’s because we are pursuing things out of shaky foundations, out of pains that can only exist because we are not loving and caring towards ourselves.
Just like that, we don’t even give ourselves a fair shot.
Notice how you talk to yourself. Notice your reasons. Are your reasons full of love, inspiration, and joy potential — or full of self-judgment and justifications, holding yourself back?