You know how you feel resentful, disconnected and frustrated in your relationships? I think it might be because you’ve been practicing shutting down your desires. The antidote is to get back into practicing your desires.
In this episode I talk about how ignoring our desires affects our most important relationships, how this often comes to be, and how to practice your desires instead. I hope you’ll try it.
FULL SHOW NOTES
Having desires is not a bad thing; in fact, it’s what makes you YOU! If you ever wonder about what your purpose is, my advice is to follow your desires. The world wins, the world is a better place, when we allow our desires, because we become more of who we are.
A lifelong practice of ignoring or pushing down our desires will show up as resentment, disconnection and plain ‘ol awkwardness in our relationships.
Side note: If you grew up in a chaotic home where making sure other people were happy for your own safety, it was probably unsafe to allow your own desires. So it makes sense why you did that. It’s not too late to change. There is always hope!
Let’s talk about how this practice of shutting down our desires affects different key relationships.
In our marriages, ignoring our desires can turn into resentment and disconnection. One of my clients realized that she actually did have desire for intimacy, just not the way her and her husband had been practicing in their marriage for two decades. For many years she thought she didn’t have much sexual desire, so she would simply have sex for him. This turned into resentment and frustration. But the real problem was that she wasn’t speaking up and talking about her own desires so that they could be addressed. Now it feels too awkward to speak up. She will have to practice honoring those desires. But it will create more connection in her marriage if she does.
In our parenting, ignoring our desires often leads to resentment, guilt and frustration. When we use our children’s needs as an excuse for not honoring our own desires, we will start to resent them. Or we will tell ourselves “I’m such a bad mom, because I don’t like ______.” Fill in the blank with your own preferences. And when we don’t make time for ourselves, we feel chained to our children and get frustrated. Mom! We must pour into ourselves in order to be more present parents to our children!
When we ignore our desires in our relationship with God, we feel resentment, overwhelm, and lack of self-confidence. When we focus on all the things we can’t do because we are keeping the commandments, it leaves no room to hold our desires and get creative with how they fit into the gospel plan. We can feel overwhelmed with what we perceive are the endless to-dos of the gospel and just shut down instead. And lastly, when we don’t honor our desires, we disconnect from God, leaving us feeling confused about who we are and our purpose.
Much of this is because ignoring our desires disconnects us from OURSELVES. Of course, it’s easier to blame our spouse, our kids or God for our inability to do what we really want, but the truth is there is always a way, we just have to get creative in order to find it.
How do we even start ignoring our desires?
Think about what happens when you want something if you are a 3-4 year old child. You feel desire like wanting chocolate, you express it, it gets shot down- your parents tell you no, you feel disappointment. Repeating this all the time will make you not want to feel desire! So you start to prevent the desire before it gets to the disappointment phase.
This cycle became strikingly clear in a recent client session. My client talked about how as a child, her parents and her older siblings would always tell her she “couldn’t” do what she wanted for a variety of reasons. She got in the habit of feeling a desire, expressing it, her desire being thwarted, and feeling frustrated and disappointed. For her, and additional step was added when she moved into a proving energy to show parents and siblings that she was capable and could do what she wanted. This taken to an extreme over many years had her in a subconscious loop of having desire, expressing it, shutting it down herself (with the internalized voices of her parents and siblings), and then trying to prove she could, and finally burning out and quitting. Staying out of proving energy and in the excitement and openness of her desires is where her work is. And the same may be true for you!
Allowing your desire is a PRACTICE. You practiced ignoring your desires until the spark got easy to overlook. Now it’s time to practice fanning the flame of your desire. Each time you feel a desire, instead of automatically shutting it down, get curious about it and hold space for your desire. You may not have the resources to travel the world right now, but could you immerse yourself in a book about another culture for an hour? Or could you meet people in your community from diverse backgrounds once a month? Find a small version of what your desire leads you to if your resources don’t allow you to do what you really want.
And if you DO have the resources to do what you want, but you just haven’t, what are the excuses disguised as reasons? Maybe they aren’t true at all? Or maybe with some fine-tuning you could practice your desires?
Your inner critic will tell you you can’t, you’re not worthy, etc. Don’t listen. Ignore that voice instead of ignoring your desires. You’ve been listening to the inner critic long enough. Start listening to the inner cheerleader instead. You are worth it and the world will be a better place once you do!
I’d love to know if you start practicing your desires in small or large ways. Comment below or set up a free coaching session so I can help you figure out where to start.