Tell you what you want

“To burn with desire and keep quiet about it is the greatest punishment we can bring on ourselves." (Federico García Lorca)

Let’s admit it…some of the most annoying times as a parent are when our kids won’t stop wanting. We’ve given them what they wanted, and they’re still not satisfied. Or, we know we can’t give them what they want, so we wish they just didn’t want anything at all.

We do the same to ourselves. Since sitting with our desires unmet is so uncomfortable, we’d rather not speak of them. Maybe they’ll just go away, and then we can just do what we have to do (which is so much more important that what we want to do, or so the voices in our mind tell us.)

Another approach to both our kids and ourselves is to sever the connection between wanting and having. It’s okay to want something without getting it. It’s uncomfortable, but it’s okay. It’s even essential.

Learning to love ourselves means learning to learn ourselves…and that means learning about our desires. We can then speak them out loud, or write them down. That way, we can examine whether we really want it. This is a great way to discipline our desires, as we talked about yesterday. If I allow myself to say aloud, “I want a Chicago deep-dish style pizza,” or “I want to quit everything and live on a beach," then I can really evaluate whether I should actively pursue such desires.

If I’m deathly afraid of even voicing such wants, I actually invite them to become stronger than they really are.

So, voice your wants. And let your kids voice theirs. How else will any of us learn to love ourselves, and discipline our choices?

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