In the journey of life, it’s common to feel lost, unsure of where to direct our energy and ambitions. The question of “What do I want to do?” can be overwhelming, leading us to inadvertently chase elusive ideals or conform to external expectations. In this blog, advice columnist Eleanor Gordon Smith offers invaluable insights into finding our true desires amidst the noise of shoulds and could. Let’s explore the path to self-discovery, shedding light on what truly matters to us.
The Dilemma of Shoulds:
Often, confusion arises from trying to answer the question, “What should I want?” The quest for the “right” objective becomes disheartening when we’re bombarded with various plausible responses. The desire for family, financial success, social status, or making a positive impact can leave us torn between conflicting priorities. When seeking the “best” choice for our lives, we inadvertently confront age-old questions about the purpose of human existence, leading to a sense of impossibility in finding an answer.
The Trap of an Ideal Life:
The pursuit of an ideal life is another rabbit hole we might unwittingly tumble into. The notion that endless improvements will lead to a better life can be distressing and unsatisfying. With each change, we imagine a slightly improved reality, only to be left yearning for more. In this constant chase for external perfection, we risk losing sight of what truly brings us joy and contentment.
Discovering What You Truly Want: Separating the question of “What do I want?” from these distractions is key. It’s about recognizing when we feel most authentic and at peace. When do we feel grounded and present, embracing our true selves? The answer lies in those moments when we shine in our interactions and feel genuine pride in ourselves.
In our quest for self-discovery, we must learn to accept that perfection is not the ultimate goal. Instead, finding something that resonates with us, even imperfectly, can bring profound satisfaction. The abundance of opportunities and choices can overwhelm us, but real freedom comes from making a commitment and fully embracing it.
Optimization vs. Contentment:
Don’t let the pursuit of optimization become the enemy of contentment. Making a choice, no matter how small or imperfect, can lead to a sense of fulfillment. Once we stop evaluating every aspect of our lives, we can truly live it to the fullest. Remember, life is not about making the perfect decisions but about finding joy in the path we choose.
The journey of self-discovery may be challenging, but it’s essential to cut through the noise of expectations and external ideals. Focus on what makes you feel most like yourself, what brings you peace and pride. Embrace imperfection and find contentment in your decisions. Remember, life is a continuous journey of exploration, and as you navigate it, let the pursuit of contentment guide your way.