Desire is a powerfully creative thing. But even though it is a creative thing, it can also be a dangerous thing.
Let’s look more closely at this highly creative part of us, to see how to keep it and ourselves on a healthy life trajectory.
In many spiritual traditions, desire has somewhat of a bad rap. Though it is true, there is no escaping the pressures of our desires. And these desires, as well as our ignorance of how to meet them in a healthy way creates many problems.
But what would life be like without our desiring? In my interpretation, life would be drab and boring. To desire brings excitement to life. With it comes a renewed energy for creating change, and for bringing about a fulfilling life.
It is actually silly to think of what life would be without desire. We don’t have a choice in the matter. Whether we like it or not, subconsciously and consciously we are going to set our sights and our minds on getting what we want. And those bodily impulses will get kicked up and beg to be used.
Our desiring can be used responsibly or irresponsibly. When used responsibly, it can bring about many beautiful outcomes for our lives. But if used irresponsibly it can be damaging to ourselves, and others that may be in its path.
Irresponsible Path of Desire.
With desire comes the energy to create. But just as easily that energy can be used to do damage, or even destroy.
That harm can be directed either outside of us or inside of us. It can be directed inside of us when we neglect to get out and live. Unused desire can turn into a backlog of unhealthy stress. That unhealthy stress can lead us to excess anxiety, possible depression, and into seeking unhealthy stress relief.
That stress relief seeking can lead individuals to actions that range from personally annoying, like eating a little too much ice cream, binge-watching Netflix or nail-biting. All the way to publicly disturbing.
We have all seen the craziness that can come into the world when someone sees something they want and obsessively commits to go any lengths to get it. The prison system is full of individuals that became obsessive and compulsive with the paths they took to fulfill their desires.
But people don’t need to be behind bars to be prisoners though. Many of us feel trapped and stressed by our own outlets for stress relief. What many of us need is to make the paths we take to our desires, healthy ones.
How to Keep Our Desire on a Healthy Path.
1. Surround Ourselves with Healthy Peer Pressure.
To surround ourselves with healthy peer pressure is to have healthy relationships. Relationships that mesh well with our goals for life, look out for our best interests, challenge us and encourage us.
The healthier the people we have around us, the healthier life we will be pressured to create. As far as for how we meet our desires, these relationships can play a significant role. They can help inspire us into new ways of behaving, remind us of our potential and warn us of dangers.
These healthy relationships may even jump in to actively participate with us to bring about our desires. They may connect us with others that may be helpful, look out for new opportunities and maybe even jump in and get their hands dirty with us. The benefits they can bring to the table are immeasurable.
2. Live with Healthy Personal Purposes and Set Personal Standards for Behavior.
Our purposes help to guide our lives. They help guide the thoughts we let ourselves think, the ways we deal with emotion, the ways we treat ourselves and others.
We use the purposes in our lives to set standards for the ways we will behave. To set these standards does require commitment and the ability to be mindful of ourselves. But it is with these standards of behavior that we can set a healthy trajectory for the way we go about getting what we want.
Without personal standards our hitting the mark in a healthy way can be much more difficult. We may be distracted away from our destination often by the endless amount of other objects and people that compete for our attention. Without setting them our impulses may wander into the realm of the unhealthy.
So be mindful of your purpose. Set those personal standards. The path to getting to what we desire is much simpler when we do.
3. Keeping Our Imaginations Grounded.
At the heart of desire is a want to have something be, somewhat different than the way they are. Which means our imagination is led to leave our connection with the present moment.
Keeping ourselves grounded also means keeping our imaginations grounded. This doesn’t mean try to use the imagination as little as possible. We do need to make sure that we give some time to using our imagination in a healthy way. Using it to see possible obstacles on the path, and make balanced plans for navigating them.
Imagination becomes troublesome when we attach too much emotion to the story we envision with it. Our vision may be clouded by past failures, leading us to ignore what we want out of a desire, so as not be disappointed. Some imaginings may also become clouded by our own pleasant emotions for certain outcomes, leading us to be blissfully unaware of dangers that are coming.
To keep our imaginations grounded is also to not allow emotion to become too attached to expected outcomes. We may end up pleasantly surprised at our smooth success. Or wind up avoiding danger because we were not blinded by a pleasant fantasy.
Our imaginations are a awesome part of being a human being. When used in a responsible way at least.
4. Stay Grateful.
Practicing gratitude is a powerful thing that really isn’t that difficult to do. Our drives for getting what we want can turn into an insatiable quest of dissatisfaction. This is unfortunate but it is bound to happen for all of us to some extent.
Gratitude is an amazing thing. It can bring a brain that is stuck on obsessively wanting, and pull it back into the moment. Giving it rest, and positive vibes, all because it is able to connect with reality as it currently stands. This gives our brains permission to detach from worrying about the ways things may become.
I said that it isn’t difficult to practice gratitude. Here is a great gratitude practice from a book called “The Magic” by Rhonda Byrne. We at My Life Experiment have found personal transformations from applying it to our lives.
5. Focus on Desiring Good for Others.
Too much time spent on our own wants and needs can lead to neglect of the healthy relationships that have grown and sustained us. It can take us down a highly self-centered path. And not the kind of self-centered that is necessary for a self-care practice.
Part of self-care is also caring for others. It is about taking our attention off of ourselves for a while and giving positive vibes to the lives of others. Whether those others are close loved ones or people we may never have even met.
Desiring good for others doesn’t necessarily mean stepping up to physically help them. Although by doing it often enough we won’t be able to avoid reaching out more often than normal. By getting in the mindset of wanting more good for others, our energies naturally move toward being more compassionate and helpful.
Being more compassionate and helpful for others creates close allies. With our desires on healthy paths and the help of others, beautiful successes are sure to happen. And isn’t that all we really want? Success as we personally define it?
Well, that is all we have for today and thank you so much for stopping in to My Life Experiment. What is written here has come from struggle and growth.
We sincerely wish you amazing success in keeping the energy of your desire on the healthiest paths possible. We truly believe that if you take today’s lessons to heart and apply them, that you will greatly benefit.