The Idea of Want: Finding Clarity Amidst The Chaos of Loss

Want. A strong enough word? Maybe not. After all, there are afflictions yet uncured and dilemmas yet unsolved. But remember; for all its impotence, you cannot ever deny its internal presence. Nor can you ignore the formidable drive to attain that one thing that should so rightfully be yours. Do not condemn ‘wanting’ to ‘just another feeling’; it is a respectable drive with the potential to flower into anything you want.

“Wouldn’t it be nice ?” ~ The Beach Boys

It is within human nature to be in a constant strive mode. We all foster this innate drive by turning our most forceful desires into our most important goals. It is in this way that we learn to be resourceful. It is all in the thrill of the hunt.

Our endeavors are what keep us going. However, you must understand that in life you cannot get everything you want. In our losses, there are always lessons to be found. These lessons may seem either monumental or insignificant at the time, but regardless of their apparent magnitude, every lesson well-learned represents a surefire future success.

Here are some important outlooks for when it comes to accepting our dues.

1.  Knowing when you have lost

You will know that you truly understand something when you acknowledge every aspect of it, whether it’s good, bad, or ugly.

Perhaps you were pining over a person, or maybe you yearned for a far-fetched passing dream. Whatever it was, you once felt a special connection to that hope. You found yourself spellbound by it. It felt great, and it felt even better when your ambition and pride began soaring to new and fantastic heights. Your deep infatuation gave you a sense of purpose. 

You knew fully well how much your heart ached for it, and even now you still feel the trickle of blood, sweat and tears. After many sleepless nights you spent worrying about it, how could it not hurt?

We have all been there. You will know that you truly understand something when you acknowledge every aspect of it, whether it’s good, bad, or ugly.

However, if you are in the early stages of grief, you are first going to go through a period of denial. After that come the delusions, and after that, desperation. If it is your first time, then you, like so many others, will try to capture what is now definitively beyond your reach. I would even encourage you to do so because there are no lessons quite like real failures.

Life is a ‘sandbox’ adventure, yet certain rules still apply. The thing about reaching the unfavourable outcome of loss is that you are left with a very honourable and responsible course of action: to take it all in, accept it, and move on.  

You are going to have to go through what many of us do in times of loss and despair because the only way out is through. 

2. Don’t lose ‘you’

The only thing you have really lost is your right to being contented with what you already have.

You failed that objective, but you never lost yourself. Amid the confusion and despair, it is alright to feel lost every now and then. Just remember to pick yourself back up. Remember that thing about our ‘strive mode’? That it makes you resourceful? You are going to have to do it again. And again. And again. 

Each time you do it, it will hurt a little bit less. I promise you that much. Experiences help a lot, but how effectively you recover is always determined by how much effort you put into your emotional and mental recuperation process.

The only thing you have really lost is your right to being contented with what you already have. Think about it; was that ‘dream’ at any point yours? Past efforts might seem squandered but remember that every action in your life up to now has led you to where you are today. I call that life.

Now ‘living’ is a different story altogether. Life demands that you keep living. The best way to go about that is to live in the present. Holding on to a future that is not promised is just as folly as to restraining yourself to a past that was already sealed. Break free from that vicious cycle.

Whilst you should not lose out on what you have now, remember that tomorrow really does come. Your mother is lying when she said it does not. 

3. Understand your needs

Those who cannot discern and adapt to the nature to the more vital of the two, either because they refuse to acknowledge the difference or are incapable of it, are ill-fated.

The words ‘to need’ and ‘to want’ are very impactful. While one may argue that only a fool confuses the two words as synonymous, people are bewitched and misled by this misconception all the time. 

The true measure of the two words is often linked with, but not limited to, one key variable: survival. Such is the innate animalistic nature inside us all. We will fight so hard just to die another day. If you think that is being pessimistic, you clearly have not been thinking that far ahead. 

The thing about surviving is that it further complicates your situation because the word discreetly implies the need for sacrifice. You are going to have to abandon a lot of your own principles if you want to become nothing but a hardened survivor. You are inadvertently going to drop your current worldview in favour of one that is more suited to how you feel the and there. 

As within our survival instincts, we will be in pursuit of both our wants and needs. However, nature herself teaches us this especially important, albeit subtle lesson in life. Those who cannot discern and adapt to the more vital of the two, either because they refuse to acknowledge the difference or are incapable of it, are ill-fated. 

4. Avoid the traps of “What if…” and “If only…”

Looking back is fantasising’s ugly twin.

‘What if’ and ‘if only’ are, as far as I am concerned, nearly-totally meaningless questions. There exists one condition where these questions are productive, and that is in the case of meaningful self-reflection. ‘What if’ and ‘if only’ can be useful if you intend to seriously build on your past experiences. In any other sentimental situation, it showcases your immaturity to see beyond your current circumstances.

You absolutely cannot wait, hope and expect for situations to change magically to your liking. The best person to manipulate the variables in your favour is yourself. Adjust yourself accordingly and become the change you want to see. 

Looking back is fantasising’s ugly twin; dreaming of a reality that is now non-existent.

The best thing about having to do without, is that you are now liberated to make do with what you have. You do not have to hold anything back anymore; you are free! I am sure you will surprise yourself with your untapped creativity and ideological innovation.

The hardest part is starting. After that, the hardest part will be stopping.

5. Adaptation is key

Sometimes, by altering the angle with which we view things, we can perceive ever-clearer images.

We are all the products of our own environment. That makes us all unique individuals since no two people will walk down the same one road in life.

It is only natural that we desire and believe in things that support our worldview. But remember, change is imminent so do not be surprised whenever said change brings about a brutal reformation of your outlook. 

It is okay to see things differently every now and then. It is ideal, in fact, and I would encourage you to try out different modes of thought and ways of working. Sometimes, by altering the angle with which we view things, we can perceive ever-clearer images.

Adaptation does not stop at our individual outlook on life, however. Again, adaptation is all about bringing the change into our core being through self-discipline and self-conditioning. Maturity plays a pivotal role in this, but do not worry because that too will come seamlessly with every trial and tribulation you healthily endure. Scientifically, age itself is a maturing factor; at the very, very least, all you need to do is live from day to day in order to begin seeing changes.

Bear this in mind: never does adaptation entail the suppression of your strengths to make way for the novel use of an underdeveloped skill. When the task is tough and people are relying on you, it is better to get the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Play to your strengths but make it a habit to re-evaluate your methods.

6. Remember that life moves on after a loss

And so should you!

No matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.

Maya Angelou

But take your time. Feeling better does not happen overnight. It does not; it cannot. You are going to want to get accustomed to your current situation before realising that a change needs to be brought about.

One of the best ways to move on is to start over with new people by establishing new connections. These are the people who will follow you up, up and away; its your past grudges that weigh you down.

Do not take this to mean that you should abandon the past, however, since running away from the facts forms the basis of denial.

You are by no means finding them a replacement. Nobody can replace another just like that, or at best, not so entirely. If that is where your guilt lies, drop it. The one who left you seemingly had no qualms doing just that so extending the courtesy to them will do you no good. 

7. Come to terms with the true nature of this life

Train your heart not to be deceived by the surface of things.

Yasmin Mogahed

Let us speak frankly. The lives we lead and all the aspects encompassed by it are constantly fleeting. And by ‘everything’, I mean everything. Your health that keeps you alive, the wealth that you so desperately hoard for an easier living, your treasured youth, and yes, even people will leave us.

Materialism is not an overstatement. It is a word that defines our desires for what they truly are.

Despite not being the traditional definition of the word, being materialistic is adding some sort of sentimental value in things that should have never been brought into your heart. 

If parting with the people or things you valued greatly upset you, it is only because you gave them the key to your happiness. Once one of those things are removed from your life, so does the metaphoric ‘key to your happiness’ go with them.

Materialism has an unusual way of making others and our worldly possessions exist within our lives for ourselves. Unfortunately, no one exists solely for you, and likewise, you should not have to live exclusively for someone else.

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