The Healthy Relationship Part 4: What do I Really Want and How do I Get it?

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I’ve been breaking down basic rules for healthy relationships. In Part 3 we looked at identifying our NEEDS. Now we need to explore our WANTS.

 Ask someone what they want and often they can give you a very quick definitive answer.  But is that answer REALLY what they want?

I can say, “I want chocolate chip cookies.”  This sounds simple enough; however, it really isn’t. In this particular case, I’m watching television and I’m anxious about a meeting I’m having in the morning. I’m not hungry or deprived of sweets but chocolate chip cookies are what hits me that I want.

Knowing what I know about myself and human behavior, I know chocolate chip cookies are not really what I want. I don’t want the calories or the mess of making them. I’m not hungry. So, I start to dissect this WANT. Broken down, it looked like this:

  • I want chocolate chip cookies, more specifically
  • I want chocolate, more specifically
  • I want to stop feeling anxious, more specifically
  • I want to not go to this meeting tomorrow, more specifically
  • I want to feel I have more control over the outcome of tomorrow’s meeting, more specifically
  • I want to feel more confident in my ability to handle the unknown of tomorrow’s meeting

 Why is this important to me? Because I see myself as self-reliant, intelligent and due to my past, I have a strong need to feel in control.  When I get into situations where I can’t be or do these, I get anxious and feel out of balance. I need to do something to feel back into balance.

As I’m watching TV, my brain jumps to the old stand-by, carbohydrates! They are the building blocks of changing the body chemistry for a short period of time. Will chocolate chip cookies help me feel self-reliant, intelligent and in control? NO! They will only make me feel fatter and give me more dishes to clean.  Making and eating chocolate chip cookies is a horrible plan to get my needs and wants met. It’s time to plan another strategy. Instead of cooking and eating chocolate chip cookies, I can take that energy and plan a healthier way to prepare for this meeting.

 When you know your real wants, you can better evaluate what behaviors you are choosing to accomplish your want.  So, step one is to EXPLORE what your REAL WANT is. Step two is to EVALUATE if the behaviors you are choosing will get you closer to that goal. Step three, if the answer to step two is no, INVESTIGATE other options. Get more information. Think about in the past, what you might have done that did work in a similar situation. Step four, make a PLAN and follow through.

In my case, I had to address the demons in my thinking. I had to explore the negative images and thoughts I was allowing to run amok in my brain. My poor body was only reacting to my thoughts. The result was anxiety and the desire to feel better through food.  I also had to relax, journal and start saying a positive mantra.

Patterns of behavior do not change overnight, but you have to start somewhere. I was still anxious, but much more in control of me, feeling more self-reliant because I took the steps and therefore feeling more intelligent and back in balance.

If your behavior (thinking, feeling or acting) does not get a need met or a want achieved, a re-evaluation is in order. More than likely, what you think you want is only the surface-want or you are using the wrong behaviors to get you there.  Dig a little deeper and do the steps.

About Debbie Hill, deborahhillcounselor.com

Wellness Counselor, Author, Photographer, Interested in living a balanced, compassion centered life, travel, spiritual/supernatural issues, history, all things Disney. If that's not eclectic, I don't know what is.

Posted on March 19, 2013, in Relationships, The Therapist is in and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 48 Comments.

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