There is no shame in wanting something. We place a tremendous amount of shame around wanting things we feel we shouldn’t as if being struck with an emotion for which we have no control somehow makes one an inherently bad person. We should not feel shame for what we want. No matter what it is, wanting something gives us important clues about ourselves. Most of the time what accompanies our wants is a fantasy before acquiring it. It can be brief, as in a food commercial that sends us out for hamburgers, or a dream job we work decades for. This is envisioning what we want. This can be pleasurable and constructive, however it is a poor substitute for knowing what we want.
When we know what we want, we are rooted in the here and now. Knowing what we want is based on knowing who we are and what brings us true satisfaction—not just fleeting happiness or others’ approval. There is a gap between envisioning what we want and acquiring what we want which is a “magic hour” of sorts in our subconscious. This “magic hour” is the knowing hour.
The word belief tends to become an increasingly frightening concept. Belief remains a powerful tool for justification of just about any behavior which requires no accountability. When we hold on to a belief that we should indeed pursue something we envision, it is a license to bypass the knowing phase. The knowing phase demands that we question whether what we envision is truly what we want. The knowing phase demands that we ask that question even in pursuit of our desire. The knowing phase is the salvation that allows us to change course if and when necessary.
It is those that espouse the value of “belief” that want you to adhere to envisioning, essentially branding the knowing phase dangerous or irrelevant. Those who want to control you never want you to know anything—they simply need you to believe. Manipulative people break down your belief in yourself and what you know, then subversively ensure you place your belief in them instead. It is easy to fall prey to such control because the knowing phase can be painful and frightening. This is where you truly experience your losses and question your choices. This is where you must decide if what you envision is truly in line with what you are learning about yourself. If you don’t like what you are learning about yourself, it becomes much easier to remain in denial and live through belief and envisioning, which is precisely what manipulative people want.
It is often the people that ask us to trust ourselves that we learn the most from. The people that don’t just approve or disapprove of our courses of action but ask us why we have committed to such a course are useful guides in our lives. This can be frustrating because sometimes all we want is for someone to approve of us and tell us that we are right. No one wants to feel “wrong” which is why the knowing phase can be so painful. The knowing phase requires that at some point we face ourselves squarely and say, “I was wrong”. We fear the loss of credibility others have in us when we do this, but this is the price we pay for being human.
We demand a superhuman veneer of ourselves and in others far too often. The only way to proceed with such a façade is through “belief”. That scary word that allows us to bypass the knowing phase is omnipresent in every word, gesture, and interaction we have with others. That’s how much we care about how others view us. We always fear making a mistake or looking foolish in front of people we respect. This is the power of belief that coincides with societal mandates that require we maintain an image of infallibility. The unspoken belief is that we must be superhuman in order to be worthy of another’s respect.
When someone has committed themselves to knowing—which is to say gaining a deeper understanding of their motives and who they are—there is less fear of failure; less fear of loss. When you know yourself, you know your capacity for strength and resilience. Those who manipulate always try and undermine your knowledge of your own resilience. Anyone who believes they cannot withstand loss or failure had someone convince them of it by insidiously instilling the belief that any failure or mistake meant a loss of approval or affection. It is this fear that prevents people from changing course when necessary. The fear of admitting failure or wrongness is tantamount to admitting one is not worthy of love and respect. The only way to break out of this system of belief is through knowing who we are and applying that knowledge in the pursuit of what we want.
Remaining rooted in the present moment is knowing. Anticipation is the enemy of the knowing mind. When we anticipate failure or success, we leave the moment we are in. Pursuing certainty is a fool’s errand. This is why belief is a dangerous concept. Belief allows you to accept outcomes before they happen as if you or another had that power to predict it. It is the belief of superhuman infallibility that permits such a line of thought. We perpetuate this through envisioning. The knowing mind lives in uncertainty. Accepting one’s own fallibility and capacity for resilience allows room for knowing/uncertainty.
Knowing is just another way of quantifying self-esteem really. As people venture away from adhering to the concept of belief and draw nearer to embracing uncertainty, there is an inevitable increase in one’s acceptance of their own autonomy. This is the trajectory that allows individuals to remain in the present and release the anxiety of anticipation. Belief asks you to suffer now and anticipate rewards later. Having true self-esteem means accepting that there is no guarantee that such suffering will have any value. True knowing is what gives us the confidence to live now, be who we are, and not anticipate pain for doing so. We have no choice in the matter because this is inherent in the reality of accepting the moment you are in. The failures that hurt and the successes that felt good from the past no longer exist. The painful experiences and triumphs of the future don’t exist either. This moment is all there is. This. Very. Moment. Ask yourself this question right now—
“What do I want?”