Why Do You Want What You Want?

Understand your desiresWe all have our list of things we want in life – great relationships, a nice home, a healthy body, financial security and more.  Have you ever stopped to ask where your definitions of these goals came from and why you want them?

Are those images in alignment with your values, the things you hold most dear?  Or are they based on what you think you should have in this point in your life?  Or are they what someone else expects of you?  Or are you trying to prove something to someone or be better than someone else? Are you trying to re-live some aspect of your past?

Will obtaining the things you want make your heart happy?

Advertising and media are very good at telling us what we should want and have.  Their messages are so slick that we usually don’t even think about whether we really need their offerings.  We just want them – and now.

Like the practice of waiting 30 days before making a “needed” purchase (at which point you usually realize that you don’t even want it anymore), take some time to consider all the things you “need” in your life.

New Understandings


I used to think that the perfect relationship was one where there are no fights.  My first marriage went this way and ended this way.  We never fought but we also had no idea how to communicate.  If I did something to upset him, I usually had no idea what I had done.  My only clue that I had done something that hurt him was his silent treatment which persisted even when I asked him what I had done.

My current marriage has been filled with disagreements and I almost ended it because of that, hanging onto my old beliefs.  Another old belief was that, when things get bad you just leave.  Thankfully, my husband is extremely patient and has been there for me as I’ve learned how to communicate and work out our differences.

Through our many conflicts we’ve both grown immensely and we have the happiest relationship ever.


When we went house hunting about 12 years ago, my husband wanted a yurt on 100 acres.  I told him that I didn’t want to live in a tent.  I wanted a nice home.  So we bought a nice home on 20 acres.  My vision of a nice home was a combination of things I read about in many home and redecorating magazines combined with my interpretation of society’s image of a “nice home.”

After experiencing all these years in our nice home, I now want a yurt on 100 acres.  A nice home has too much space to heat, clean and store stuff we don’t really need.  I’ve stayed in a yurt and I know how beautiful and comfortable they can be.  And it’s amazing how inexpensive a yurt is to construct compared to a nice home (goodbye mortgage!).


I’ve created healthy habits over the years to ensure that my body looked and felt like it did when I was in my twenties.  After I hit thirty, though, things didn’t quite work like they did when I was twenty.  And forty brought even more surprises like my first grey hairs and fine lines.  Never mind what giving birth to three children does to a body.  I had to accept the fact that I’m getting older and my body is different.  It will never again be like it was when I was in my twenties.

Instead of trying to emulate the young models, my new picture of health is an older model from the Sundance catalogs (I haven’t seen her in a while) with long, flowing grey hair and a look of peace in her face.  I’ve also had a therapist who fits this description.  I almost fell out of my chair when she told me she was over sixty.

My views of beauty have shifted from what’s on the outside (to live up to society’s picture of beauty) to what’s on the inside.  That look in the eye of a peace within.  The natural glow.  The relaxed nature.  I just want to feel good.  When that happens, I know I’m beautiful.


In the financial realm, I remember thinking as I got out of college that when my income reached a certain level, I’d be all set and I would never have any issues with money.  Well, my income got to that level and much more and my financial problems only got bigger along the way.  My underlying feelings of entitlement along with some childhood programming (debt is the American way) got me into some pretty big financial problems.

When it became blatantly clear that my financial habits were no longer sustainable, I had to take a long, hard look at the things inside of me that were creating these problems.  It’s like an old saying goes:  Money doesn’t cure problems, it magnifies them.

I began to examine what was behind every financial choice I made.  Why did I really want what I thought I wanted?   Was it so important to have that I would rob my future and go into more debt?

It seems that the issues that we manage to cover up in every other area of our life become more apparent in our financial lives.  Numbers don’t lie.

It was when I faced my emotional issues, looking at them objectively as an outside observer without judgment, and making new, conscious choices in all areas of my life that my financial life turned around.

The Shift

When I started to make conscious choices that supported my values, all areas of my life improved.

Over the years, the “why” behind my desires has shifted from external sources (what society, advertising and the like say that I should want or to please other people) to internal sources (my values, what’s important to me, what makes me happy).

I used to see things and people in my life as never quite right or not enough.   Now I accept what is and I’m happy with what I have in all areas of my life.  With this I’ve gone from a general feeling of uneasiness to a sense of contentment.

Why do we want all the things we want in life?  Ultimately, to be happy.

Are your choices supporting your long-term or short-term happiness?  “Both” is the best answer.  My advice would be to not sacrifice your long-term happiness by succumbing to your desire for the “quick fix” for short-term happiness.

What have been your experiences in this area?  Have you noticed any shifts over the years?

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19 Responses to Why Do You Want What You Want?

  1. Pingback: Life After Death, Or How Life Is Like A Video Game

  2. Hiten Vyas
    Commented:  01/27/2012 at 1:18 pm

    Interesting how you’ve noticed your ‘why’ change from external sources, to what your ‘internal’ is telling you. I’ve also found the same. I think as I’ve got older, I’ve just become more comfortable with being me, and doing things based upon my own values, rather than seeking outside as to why I should do something.

    You’re lucky you got your first grey hairs when you turned 40. Mine have started and I’m in my 30’s! 🙂
    Hiten Vyas recently posted..Justin Mazza reviews EmpowerHour coaching!My Profile

      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  01/27/2012 at 1:38 pm

      I think my grey hairs prbably started sooner. They were just harder to see with the blonde hair. 🙂
      I always wonder why it takes so many years for us to get comfortable in our own skin. I’m hoping to help my kids go through the process a little faster so they can be more comfortable in their own skin during as much of their lives as possible.

    Brian Johnson
    Commented:  01/26/2012 at 7:33 pm

    Thank you for sharing your experience and wisdom.

    Both my wife and myself are in a “why” phase. We both realized we were living out conditioned responses based on others “whys”. We’ve just begun the process of taking charge and as a byproduct it has improved our relationship.

    Your list gives us some conscious chewing over the next weeks and months.

    Brian Johnson recently posted..Does Muscle Soreness = A Good Workout?My Profile

      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  01/27/2012 at 1:35 pm

      So happy this helped you and your wife, Brian! Working together on your “why’s” and coming up with a life vision that’s truly your own can do amazing things for your relationship and your lives.

    More Web Site Traffic Guide
    Commented:  01/26/2012 at 7:35 am

    Paige, I really needed an inspiration today. I am undergoing some personal problems right now and after reading your post, I just realized that this is the part where everything just starts to get more interesting. Thanks a lot again for the kind words. And about your husband, I’m glad he is patient enough to keep you together. And I pray that you’d both stay strong in your relationship.

    God Bless!
    Spatch Merlin
    More Web Site Traffic Guide recently posted..Effective Email Marketing Principles to Increase Traffic to Your Web SiteMy Profile

      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  01/26/2012 at 10:59 am

      Thanks Spatch! I’m so glad I can help! And thank you for your prayers. My husband is awesome! Best wishes to you as you handle your challenges!

    Fran Sorin
    Commented:  01/25/2012 at 3:05 pm

    Dear Paige,

    Your post is one that i think so many can identify with.
    Your them of aligning with your values is a strong one.

    Isn’t it amazing how each stage of life allows us the opportunity of reflecting, learning, accepting and rejoicing.

    As I grow older, it has been a process of surrendering. I’m not the woman that I was 10 years ago…not only physically but emotionally.

    And how on target you are that without even knowing it, we’re brainwashed into thinking we ‘need’ something when in fact not only do we not need it, we probably won’t even want it once we have it…like your house.

    Life sure is a vibrant kaleidoscope. Your voice adds a richness to it! xxoo-Fran

      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  01/25/2012 at 3:11 pm

      Thank you so much Fran! I have to wonder why so many people are so obsessed with “staying young” when getting older is such an adventure. Thanks for all your great comments!

    Noch Noch | be me. be natural.
    Commented:  01/25/2012 at 2:08 am

    that’s a great way to look at it – short term or longer term happiness, which should be our focus
    something that is sustainable
    and a little sacrifice now doesn’t hurt
    Noch noch
    Noch Noch | be me. be natural. recently posted..challenging my worriesMy Profile

      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  01/25/2012 at 10:43 am

      Exactly Noch Noch! When we run on auto-pilot we tend to focus too much on the short term and wonder why our lives aren’t what we want them to be. Sacrifice can be a learning and growing experience.

    Angela Artemis/Poweredbyintuition
    Commented:  01/24/2012 at 11:32 am

    This was awesome. I can so relate to everything you wrote here.
    I too “woke up” in the last 7 years to begin examining why I wanted the things I wanted.
    What a wonderful feeling it is to be driven internally rather than externally, isn’t it?
    I look at the women with the long silver locks and fit bodies and wonder whether I should stop coloring my hair?
    I believe we are so lucky to be living at this time when we can “choose” how we wish to age.
    When I look at my 82 year old mother – she didn’t have much of a choice. At 50 she was supposed to become dowdy and act like a senior citizen but we don’t have to!
    Thank you for this marvelous post. I thoroughly enjoyed it!
    Angela Artemis/Poweredbyintuition recently posted..6 Tips to Recalling and Interpreting DreamsMy Profile

      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  01/24/2012 at 11:53 am

      Thanks Angela!

      Making choices from our own desires just feels good.

      Gone are the days of “retirement” at 65 with a downhill decline from there. My goal is to do what I love and inspire others from now until the day I die (which I’m projecting to be well past 100). The longer I live in a way that makes my heart sing, the longer I live and the more people I can impact.

      Thanks for doing all you do! You’re certainly making an impact!

    Paige Burkes
    Commented:  01/24/2012 at 10:51 am

    Thank you so much Jt!

    I agree that the more of us out there spreading an alternative message, the happier more people will be. I love the work you’re doing on your blog!

    Jt Clough | Big Island Dog
    Commented:  01/24/2012 at 9:35 am

    The shift I have found for me has been a wonderful thing. My catalyst was moving to Hawaii. I got rid of most of my things that I thought I “needed” and have found I don’t need to replace them.

    The description of the long flowing gray hair. It happens in my community a lot and these women look so beautiful and vibrant, and yes, many of them tell me they are 60 and 70 years old. I’ve started looking at myself and my health differently too.

    The shift for all of these subjects has definitely gone within and come away from marketing and media. I also read things like your are writing to fill my mind with that instead and have made it part of my mission to make these thoughts more available for others to fill their minds with as well.

    Mahalo for the good thoughts for today because of what you have written.
    Jt Clough | Big Island Dog recently posted..The Reflection of DislikeMy Profile

    Commented:  01/24/2012 at 9:14 am

    Thanks for reminding me to think consciously about my “wants”. I’ve been working on gratitude lately – whenever I notice myself getting grumpy or out of joint, I’ve been trying to want what I already have. I can focus on the stressors and the things I don’t have, or I can focus on all the things I have right now I would desperately miss if they were taken away.

      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  01/24/2012 at 10:36 am

      Gratitude is so important! It can totally change your demeanor, especially when you turn it into a daily practice.

      I noticed that you said that you’ve been “trying” to want what you have. As the old Yoda saying goes: There is no try, there is only do. “Trying” implies that something is blocking you. There’s some resistance to wanting what you have. Have you asked yourself, your intuition, your True Self, what the resistance is? Don’t avoid it. The more directly you face it, the faster it will disappear. Facing deeper issues frequently brings up fears which cause avoidance. And avoidance ensures that the problems never leave.

      If there’s anything I can do to support you, please let me know.

    Commented:  01/24/2012 at 3:14 am

    Hey Paige,

    I really needed a motivating read today. Was feeling very low. But thanks to your post, I feel a lot better about being in control of change by myself. I love the way you discuss each and every area of our functioning highlighting personal experiences. There are many things in life I want to change. But I feel I have too much to do at once.

    We have to be the change we want to see. And that is just how it will be done. There are many reasons as to why I want a certain change; there might be many reasons. The present mode of working doesn’t make me happy, I feel there is something lacking and maybe I am capable of much better or that I deserve something better.

    Thanks for the wonderful read Paige. It lifted my spirits! 🙂
    Hajra recently posted..Will they call you over for a bloggers party?My Profile

      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  01/24/2012 at 10:28 am

      So happy I can help, Hajra! Know that you always deserve the best for yourself. Sometimes it takes some work but it’s definitely worth it. I completely understand the feeling of having too much to do at once. While I understand it’s hard to do, the best approach I’ve found is to focus on the one thing that will most positively impact your life and focus only on that item until it’s how you want it. Then move on to the next one thing. And make sure you stop, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths along the way. 🙂


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