When you don’t know what you want…

“Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure.” 
~ Lemony Snicket

Yesterday’s post was all about using your imagination to create a day designed around one thing – giving yourself emotional satisfaction and pleasure. I was thrilled with your responses – it’s such a fun game and I really hope you take the time to play it from time to time, on your own or with loved ones.

I also received a trail of sad little messages in my inbox yesterday. They were all similar, but this one sums them up:

Dear Nicole, while I loved the idea of your magical carpet ride I couldn’t think of a single place I wanted to go, or any food that I would eat, or even who I would be with. The more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve drawn a blank. Is there something wrong with me? I feel like such a failure. Please don’t take this the wrong way. I love your blog, but I don’t think I’m any good at imagination games. All I know how to do is work. I’m just really stuck where I am. 🙁 Could you maybe blog about that?

Oh dear.

Whenever we have that empty feeling, or it seems there is a big wall between us and that place where we know what we want it’s time to pay attention.

Image from tumblr

Image from tumblr

Common reasons for not knowing what we want include:

  1. Being physically, emotionally or mentally exhausted.
  2. Being in Survival Mode – survival mode is where we are functioning on reserve energy; doing the bare minimum to sustain life, pay bills and get through the day. In survival mode we think we cannot afford to waste even a shred of extra energy on anything non-vital.
  3. Being a low priority in our own lives. That’s a self-worth issue, honey!
  4. Having an ingrained belief that we are not worthy of pleasure.
  5. Having an ingrained belief that we can’t have fun until the work is done. Newsflash, people – the work will NEVER be done!
  6. Running on limited resources and worrying that if we don’t make the perfect choice we will waste time, money, effort or satisfaction. We are risk averse. Better to stick with something safe and reliable, even if it’s boring, than risk choosing something that doesn’t deliver, or, even worse, brings criticism from others. (Note – this is also a red flag that you are heading towards Survival Mode!)
  7. Fear that our choices will be judged, criticized or belittled by others. When we live in fear long enough we learn not to be visible or to do anything that may draw attention or criticism. We let others make the decisions for us.
  8. Social and cultural isolation – where our world has shrunk so small that we aren’t even aware of what choices might be available to us.
  9. Believing we don’t deserve pleasure, because of a past action, decision or some other choice we have made on which we judge ourselves negatively.
  10. Fear around taking time for ourselves or spending money on ourselves because we believe that unless we are 100% productive all the time we won’t be loved or lovable.

Sometimes all it takes to break free of this stuckness is to simply acknowledge that we ARE stuck, and to feel around for WHY we cannot connect to dreams any more.

Without hope, without dreams for tomorrow, life becomes colourless and meaningless.

If you’re one of those people who is stuck and don’t know what you want, that’s okay. Don’t be too hard on yourself. What you need is some inspiration.

So_Precious_FKG-590x548

So precious by Georgina Hart

So read books, watch movies, go to travel agents and get some brochures, or browse online. Research and ask others what they’ve enjoyed. Try to make a little room in your life for possibility. Make a little room in your life for self nurture and self care. Reach out and make some new connections. You’ll be amazed at how, once you give your heart and imagination a little room, that the road begins to open up in front of you again.

This technique of ‘exploration through information and connection’ works for fantasy magical carpet days, relationships, holidays, jobs, homes, and other matters close to your heart. Why don’t you try it and see for yourself?

Much, much love to you, ♥ Nicole xoxo

dare_to_dream__by_this_is_the_life2905-d3fn4ea

12 thoughts on “When you don’t know what you want…

  1. I know I have been in survival mode somewhat (understatement). What has helped me enormously is Pinterest. A huge balm that relaxes,soothes and gives me the impetus to keep moving forward, esp on the days I felt I was going under.Thanks Nicole, I did love the New York one a reader shared yesterday.

  2. I’m starting to realize that the work will never be done and that the dust will still be there waiting for me tomorrow if I choose to do something fun today. It’s not easy to relax and make time for myself though. I swore I’d never be like my mother but somehow the apple really doesn’t fall far from the tree. I’m trying, but it’s tough sometimes.

  3. *peeks out knowing only 7 & 8 are not relevant* good news no. 3 is a wip right now (so yay me). But all the others…..patience…..yeah, patience but (to quote Anya from Buffy) “I tried patience but it took too long” 🙂

  4. I’m one of those not knowing what I want at 67. Thank you for post. I related to a number of those things listed. Now will try Alternatives you listed. Thank you. Love. Xx

  5. Funny, yesterday I started to type that I didn’t know where to go or who I wanted to be with. I knew that that was not what you wanted to hear so I quickly deleted it and had a quiet little cry. I’m glad I am not the only one. I feel completely overwhelmed. Thank you for your ten common reasons of feeling stuck. I think I need to do some serious soul searching xox

  6. Your magic carpet took me back to the past in a lovely way (to when husband, Anthony, was in good health, and son, Ming, was little). Your idea also made me realise that a lot of what I want, I can have! You are wonderful, Nicole, and I am so glad to know you.

  7. Hi Nicole

    Thank you for today’s post…the title caught my attention…as for me life feels somewhat stuck.. Points 1 and 2 are where I am at at the moment. It has been awhile since I have been there and it has visited again. My life feels like all areas are looking for a spring clean all at once….you know me..lets makes changes in all areas now, not one a time. Sometimes it is the choices made by others that we allow to happen, that creates our life. Why do we allow this? Why do we feel like we will try time and time again when nothing appears to change?

    Gratitude for your posts, always timely and practical to assist in moving forward.

    Hope you are well and taking care of you..
    Much Love and Hugs

    Jacquelinexx

  8. OOOOHHHH!!!!!!! I feel so sorry for that person because I have been there and and totally understand the apathy. My advice is try to tune into the child in you . If you can watch films, watch Mary Poppins . Watch the father how he transforms at the end when he flies the kite with the little ones. If you can read , A little white horse by Elizabeth Goudge . it’s magic that you need .
    take care Cherry xxx

  9. I like Cherry have been there. Since being introduced to Cupcakes and Cauldrons a few short weeks ago, my life has taken the most amazing turn. Every day life is great. The person that wrote about not being able to think of a place to go on your Magical Carpet Ride after following your blogs and putting things into practice will be feeling the same as me in no time. For the 1st time in a long time…I like myself.
    Peace and love xxxx

Leave a Reply