On desire and the stories we tell ourselves

“Desire is not about fulfillment. It’s about working with the gap between reality and our idealized longing — and not clinging there.” ~ Jennifer Louden

“It’s not safe to desire.”

This is what I wrote in my journal yesterday as I listened to Jennifer Louden‘s Friday Writers Oasis audio. The prompt was to make two lists: Desire is “This” and desire is “Not that.” I came up with a bunch of phrases for each list, but at the end of the positive phrases on the “This” list, the above was my conclusion. It’s not safe to desire.

Why it isn’t safe to desire is the topic for another day. But back to the quote, which provided a(nother) whack upside my head. (I’ve been having quite a few these days.)

Jen gave me insight into a lot of what is keeping me stuck in procrastination and in fear of moving forward … toward anything. When I have a desire, otherwise known as a goal, I continually get stuck in the in-between, where I am now vs. where I “need” to be: the idealized, perfect achievement of my goal. It feels overwhelming. It feels so far away.

In journaling more about this, I discovered the overwhelm comes mostly from not having enough time, or enough money, to allow me to move forward toward what I want. But let’s just summarize that: it’s all “not enoughness,” which has been a thread in my recent writing.

What it takes to move from here — the reality — to out there –not only my goal or desire but an idealized version of it — makes me want to quit, to go back to bed and pull the covers over my head. It’s too much. And I don’t have it in me … or, at least, that’s the story I tell myself.

I tell myself I don’t have it in me — enough time, money, energy — so why try. Getting to my goal or desire is daunting. But what I really mean is that I’m afraid I am not enough to get there, to make what I want happen, to achieve what it is that I most desire, to work in the gap between now and the future.






So, I guess, as I cling to an idealized version of my desire, I am also clinging to an idealized version of my own incapability, the story of my “not enoughness.”

And the more I cling to that story, the more I reinforce my belief, because I don’t test it by stepping out on the road toward my goal. I stay stuck.

Well, damn.

3 Replies to “On desire and the stories we tell ourselves”

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