I Don’t Know What I Want–Or Do I?

What do you want? 

You’d think it would be easy to answer, but in fact the most common reply I hear when I ask it is, “I don’t know.”

Some people feel like it’s selfish to consider their own desires and it makes them feel ashamed.  Since they were children, they were told how others are so much less fortunate than they are, that they should be grateful for what they have and not complain.  Instead, they should focus on the needs (or demands) of others. 

All their lives they’ve been asking a different question:

“What do others want from me?”

FullSizeRender (1)To them, their own desires are less important than everyone else’s. So they mash their own wishes into a hidden compartment of the heart and try to care only for others. 

But in that hidden, often silent place, there’s a flickering hope that people will be grateful for all their sacrifice.  Somehow, someday, they’ll be rewarded if they try hard enough to please/help/save others.  And if they haven’t been rewarded, it’s because they haven’t tried hard enough or long enough.  And besides they shouldn’t be selfish anyway.  

Am I talking to you? Are you getting tired? How long will you wait to start taking care of yourself?  How empty do you need to be? How sick will you let yourself get?  

And how does your being miserable help anyone? 

I’m asking you to summon some courage  and consider the question:

What do you want?


Contact me if you’d like to talk about it.  



Photos by Sylvia Kirkendoll Mercer


Admitting What We Want

I’ve had this conversation many times with what do you want

I ask, “What do you want?”

They say, “I don’t know,” 

I say, “Yes, you do.”

We are afraid to answer because it might open the door to drastic changes and it would cause stress and pain not only for ourselves but for people we care for.  No wonder we’d rather not think about it.

Wouldn’t it be better to put aside our unhappiness and just let things stay the same?

Maybe.  However, our unhappiness tends to come out anyway, sometimes prompting destructive behaviors, or even illness.  We almost unconsciously create a crisis which forces the change we were scared to face.

It might be better to face ourselves and prepare to make the hard choices with clear thinking, considering factors like timing, communication, finances, and how others are affected.  With forethought we can make the changes productive, and perhaps even mitigate some of the pain that occurs. 

If a change is about to happen for you, I wish you success and happiness.  I have faith in you. 




Photos by Sylvia Kirkendoll Mercer