When I was about 15 or 16 years old, I was really distraught that I didn’t have a boyfriend. At one point in particular, I remember dramatically throwing myself across my bed, crying into my pillow (because that’s what girls do in chick flicks, right?), because “it wasn’t fair that my friends and classmate got this experience and I didn’t.”
I even remember vehemently thinking, “I don’t even care if it ends in heartbreak, I just want the experience of it!”
I was a pretty dramatic adolescent.
But more to the point, I got exactly what I asked for: A messy, high-and-low, rollercoaster heartbreak of a first love experience.
Over the years I’ve begged, pleaded, prayed and ardently wished for a whole slew of things, all of which I received, like:
- Getting into the one and only prestigious college I applied to. (I transferred a year later).
- Easily landing my first job out of college … (I couldn’t stand it)
- … and then finding the next job (which was completely wrong for me).
- Getting a host of writing gigs (none of which really went anywhere).
Every time I decided I wanted something, I got to work asking the Universe to pleasepleaseplease help me make that particular wish come true. And most every time, the Universe obliged. Except, clearly, I was usually completely wrong.
That’s the thing about wanting relationships and career and gigs and opportunities … you can be utterly positive that this man/job/sweet opportunity is exactly what you want, and still have absolutely no idea what you really need.
“Be careful what you wish for,” and all of that, but maybe more so, “Be careful of what you think you want.”
I’ve realized that the people and jobs and opportunities that have most shaped and defined my life have completely fallen in my lap. I hadn’t specifically asked to meet anyone, or be offered anything, but divine timing happened anyway. I wasn’t limiting the Universe to a pre-set list of wants; in those moments I was just open to being sent what I truly needed.
I believe that you limit what’s possible for you if you’re determined to only get what you think you want. Having a little faith and accepting more mystery in your life can be more fun than exerting control over the outcome.
When you zoom out a little on your life and see your experience from a broader perspective, from that vantage point you can replace all of your praying/hoping/wishing for what you want with, “Hey Universe, please give me the experience that I really need in this moment. I trust that you probably know me better than I know myself. Thanks for lookin’ out.”
None of that is to say that I would change my experiences. Being dead wrong about what I wanted was the best way for me to learn, at the time. I struggled then so that I could learn how not to struggle in the future. Though I’ve gotten a lot better at knowing what I want, I’m still learning that what I think I want pales in comparison to what’s really possible. I don’t want to shortchange myself, so if that means giving up my need to control my wants, then I’m cool with stepping in to the unknown for the possibility of getting much more than I bargained for.
So, will you join me?
Rachel (& Kristen)