Human brains are not too amiable with uncertainty. All we want is to be chasing tomorrow while yesterday is chasing us and our ‘now’ is superstitiously slipping away. Our curious little brains want to secure our future but in reality, it should only be focusing on the present. It is very easy to forget that the future isn’t granted to us. But the present is already ours. We are gifted 24 hours each day to get the best out of it.
All of us are chasing after something or the other that we feel is missing in our lives. It’s not the same for us all. If we look closely at Maslow’s need hierarchy theory, we will soon realize that needs once fulfilled will soon come back. Satisfaction, in its very essence, is temporal. Everyone has different needs and people prioritize them in different ways. Some people are chasing their dreams, others are chasing money while a handful of us are chasing meaningful connections. It doesn’t matter what we are chasing but when we are chasing anything at all we are investing all our energies on ‘what we might have’ and not on preserving ‘what we already have’.
Certainly, we will not be able to achieve everything that we yearn for with our heart and soul. We can dedicate our entire being to the cause, yet fail. At some point in our lives, we must accept that certain things are not meant for us, no matter how desperately we want them. This is sheerly because most of these ‘things’ are negotiable – we can easily do without them instead.
Surprisingly, the things we often chase aren’t what we ‘need’ but are things we ‘desire or want’. Read that again. For example, we might become hellbent to find ourselves romantic partners as we believe that they will complete us and fill the void in our lives. What we ‘desire’ is a sense of connection to ward off our feelings of aloneness. But what we ‘need’ is to experience these moments of emptiness as it could be the way to discovering something deep within us. We might not always consciously realise what we need for ourselves’ but they often are very crucial in making a huge difference in our lives.
What exactly is so lucrative about the unattainable?
Anything which is unwinnable to us has the following characteristics which make it so attractive to us.
1. Challenge inciting –
Human beings are yet to be adept at handling failures. But challenges excite us. We can’t deny this. Can we? We dig the sense of accomplishment that comes along with successfully overcoming a challenge. That extra dose of adrenaline does magic to us. Anything that we try yet cannot achieve is a challenge for us and we want to prove ourselves that we are capable of attaining what seems unattainable.
2. Curiosity evoking –
We are innately curious beings. Curiosity has its evolutionary purpose and has helped men to be aware of their surroundings and gain knowledge of it. When we are running after something we desire yet difficult to achieve, we are often instigated by a sense of curiosity – What’s so achievable about it? Why can’t I get it? The unattainable seems more provocative to us because we are yet to explore it, know it, and comprehend it.
3. The grass is always greener on the other side –
Sometimes we chase things that make other people happy because they have it and we don’t. A few such things, undoubtedly, are success and money. Just because we don’t have it, we feel like having it will make us feel content and we start chasing it.
What if you realize you are chasing something which is not meant for you? What do you do next?
Practice accepting things that are out of your control. There are certain wishes in life that will remain unfulfilled not because you are indolent but because they are not meant to happen to you. This doesn’t mean you won’t try. But when you try and try but fail, accept that it might not be for you. Life is about gaining some and losing a lot more.
Do not be harsh on yourself. Remember that you gave your best. You wanted it, which is not your fault; you couldn’t get it, it is not in your control. Always remind yourself that your achievements aren’t synonymous with your value. Your worth is measured in galaxies and stars. Your life is more than merely the sum of all profits and losses. You are precious, so is your life.
Practicing gratitude can drastically change our outlook on life. We are so occupied with the thoughts of what we don’t have that we ignore the things we treasure. Take time out from your day to notice and be thankful for at least 5 things in your life that you are extremely grateful for. Discover new things to be thankful for every day. Be more attentive and receptive about your life, the things you have already got, and not things that got away.
See what’s on the other side of the coin
It’s very easy to get our vision skewed. When we see someone successful, someone famous or rich, we often wonder, what did they do to get all the blessings in life? What we see is their fame. What we don’t see is their palpable hard work, years of dedication and sacrifice, countless failures backed with consistency and determination. This in no way means you cannot be successful but the image that it’s all so easy is deceptive. When you also recognise the other face of what you are chasing, you realise it has its share of drawbacks.
Know that some things are inevitably yours and few others are not meant for you. Being happy is a state of mind, not a destination. Neither does it come with a price tag nor can you buy it.
Well, did we just forget what George RR. Martin said?
“It doesn’t matter what we want, once we get it then we want something else.”