Sometimes, not getting what you want feels like a hard blow. It’s so damn easy to build up expectations and nearly impossible not to feel slighted when things don’t work out. But holding attachments to particular outcomes will only result in more suffering than what is necessary.
More suffering than what is necessary? So… am I implying that some suffering is necessary? Absolutely! In fact, many spiritual teachers and gurus through out history have believed and taught that suffering was essential to transcendence. Even the Buddha expressed that life was full of inevitable suffering. However, it is crucial to understand that attachment is one of the main roots of unnecessary suffering. Unnecessary suffering only burdens us.
And with that in mind, that some level of suffering through out life is totally and completely normal, to be accepted and expected, I want to address the suffering that comes from not getting what you want.
Placed on a Pedestal
Being human, it’s easy and common to build things up in the mind. The trap is comparing what you have to the idea of something that you want and then somehow convincing yourself that you’re missing out. Not getting what you want after placing it on a pedestal, I like to think, allows for room to get what you actually need. There are lots of things that may seem like a great idea until they actually manifest. Be open to the idea that even if you feel like you’re missing out on something you want more than anything, you may be dodging a metaphorical bullet. Allow what is needed.
Does This Belong to You?
It’s far too common for people to go through the motions of life because they think that it’s expected of them. Even some of the expectations you may believe to hold for yourself are in fact deeply rooted in an early life experience that you may have been too young to fully process. Not getting what you want can be presented as an opportunity to evaluate the expectations and values you hold for yourself, as well as those influenced by others in your life. Reflect on what is truly important and valuable to you, and only you. Life is finite and it is entirely up to you how you choose to spend your time. Make it count and make sure you’re living your life according to your own standards. Let go of outdated beliefs that no longer serve you.
Keep Calm and Reflect
Even when life seems most unfair, and the things you think you want the most are dangling right there in front of you, remember to pause and evaluate the moment. You’ll often find that an opportunity for growth and lesson in self-evolution is being presented to you. Another path is available for you to explore, even if it’s uncertain or yet to be uncovered. Not getting what you want can allow you the freedom to figure out what it is you’re truly passionate about and who it is you’re meant to become. Meditate and dig deep, allowing for any internal guidance and wisdom to resurface. Believe in yourself and trust the process as it happens.
It’s often said that not getting what you want is a blessing in disguise. From my life experience thus far, I’m beginning to feel like this couldn’t be more true. While I used to feel like I was being punished when I didn’t get the things that I wanted, I now see the value in being denied certain desires. Frequently, it is the ego making demands that don’t reflect the true self. These wishes serve no purpose other than to temporarily satisfy the ego.
The important factor in turning these times of disappointment and downfall into periods of growth and evolution is all a matter of perspective. This process is entirely individual. As I have mentioned before, the mind is a powerful tool and you have to train it as such. I highly recommend that you begin a regular meditation practice to enhance precision and control of the mind. Also, practicing disciplined, mindful activities will definitely help in cultivating self-awareness and clarity of the mind, such as yoga, tai chi, qi gong, etc.
After being denied another pathway this morning, I started writing this post feeling frustrated and borderline hopeless. I am pleased to say that I am now finishing this feeling more centered, accepting, and grounded. Not getting what I wanted has offered me a chance to reflect on my life and the direction I truly want to take it in. I’m grateful to have so many opportunities and skills to carry me through life. I trust that with my knowledge and abilities, I’ll get to wherever I need to be, all the while becoming who I am meant to be. I don’t believe there is any one true path; life is the path. I believe that I will find a way, regardless, and create purpose wherever I go.
The hardest part will always be discerning true thoughts from the egoic attachments, hence the importance of meditation.
Clear your mind, open your heart, and the way will become obvious to you with practice and patience.
Above all, trust yourself and the process.
You won’t go wrong!