Talking with my friend Nicole over coffee last week, I was reminded again how critical it is that we ask ourselves the simple question “What do I want in my life now?” Nicole, like so many others, has focused her professional life, as well as her personal life, on what everyone around her needs and wants, forgetting about what is important for her own fulfillment. Read about our conversation in her new blog at www.NicoleFevrierDavis.com.
Particularly as women, we are conditioned to think of others first and put their needs ahead of our own. This is certainly noble, as it expands our awareness and allows us to make a difference in many people’s lives—family, friends, work, and community. But we aren’t taught the importance of addressing our own needs and wants. In fact, we are encouraged to think of this as selfish.
As my son was jabbering away at me when he was an infant, I started cooing to him “What do you want, baby?” A friend standing close by scoffed at the very idea of the question, like it was a futile one to ask. We have been told NO so many times, we do not even bother to ask anymore.
Obviously, in the asking, we can’t always get what we want (Mick Jagger nailed itJ). However, as we get clearer on what would bring us satisfaction, we send a message to ourselves that we matter and our needs and wants matter. Our self-esteem grows. And we unconsciously start organizing our lives to bring us closer to fulfillment.
As I’ve said frequently, it is imperative that we include our needs and wants in the mix, otherwise, we feel depleted, deprived, resentful and drained. We can’t keep drawing water from an empty well. In our drained state, we unconsciously try to satisfy ourselves by eating too much, drinking too much, numbing out with TV, or complaining about our lives, because that is the best we can muster in our depleted state.
To replenish the well, we need to satisfy ourselves in healthy, growth-enhancing ways that we consciously choose. Holding this simple question “What do I want in my life now?” while investigating what would bring us fulfillment at this phase of our life, brings us the optimum quality of life—one that is in-sync with our current desires. Because our life circumstances are constantly changing, the answer to this question is always evolving.
The answer to this question is within our hearts, just waiting for us to ask. Give yourself the time and space to listen. You will be rewarded with energy, enthusiasm, fulfillment and a renewed self-respect and love.