Have you ever wanted one thing and gotten something TOTALLY different? I can think of countless examples when I’ve experienced NOT getting what I wanted. I used to respond to not getting my way in a childish, tantrum-like way (yes, this is hard for me to admit). Now, I actually WELCOME unplanned circumstances. Let me tell you why you should too.
After undergrad, I had my heart set on going to law school. I had big dreams of becoming a criminal profiler for the FBI and I was certain law school would make these dreams become a reality. I all but had my bags packed to move to Virginia and start school when the rejection letter arrived. Wait a minute…this isn’t part of the plan. I WANT to go to UVA. I WANT to get my law degree. I didn’t get what I wanted. I felt like everything was ruined. I bawled my eyes out for two weeks.
I couldn’t change my circumstances, so I had no other choice but to change my plan. I felt confident that I could get accepted to a social work program, so I applied to one of the only schools in the country that offered both social work and law degrees as a dual program. I rationalized that if I performed well in the social work program, they’d have no choice but to accept me to the law program too. The next thing I knew, I was moving to Denver, Colorado to start a Master of Social Work program.
A funny thing happened; I fell in love with social work and out of love with my dreams of going to law school. I fell in love with Denver; a city I never would have considered moving to had I been accepted to law school where I WANTED to go. I fell in love with myself as a result of experiencing better ways of living and having time and space to discover my own beliefs and values. I didn’t get what I wanted when I got rejected from law school. I got what I NEEDED.
I WANTED to get married in November 2008 and have a beautiful autumn wedding. It was all planned and I anxiously awaited the big day when I would become a Mrs. Then my fiance’ broke up with me and called off the wedding three months before we were scheduled to say “I do”. I didn’t get what I WANTED. I felt like everything was ruined. I bawled my eyes out for two weeks.
I didn’t know that’s what I needed. I thought I needed to be with him, but in truth, I needed a partner who was my equal, who would balance me out, who would love me unconditionally. I didn’t realize what was best for me until I met my husband a year later and got to experience a love like I’d never felt before. Thank God I didn’t get what I WANTED!! Had my wants come to pass, I would have found myself in a lonely, unhappy marriage.
I WANTED a daughter who is sweet, obedient, snuggly, and calm. I have a daughter who is spirited, energetic, strong-willed, and challenges my patience every single day of my life. I didn’t get the child I WANTED, but I did get the child I NEED, because she stretches me, helps me to see the parts of myself that I want to make better, and gives me the necessary practice is takes to become a better version of myself. Without her daily challenges, I’d have no motivation to work on patience, practice compromise, or allow myself to be sillier and less serious.
So, you see, NOT getting what you WANT is a good thing, because it means you’re getting what you NEED instead. When we don’t get what we want, our natural inclination is to resist, put up a fight, force things to happen the way we want. Instead, take a moment to recognize and embrace the gift the universe is presenting to you. Snatch it up like a precious gem and look at it’s brilliance from all angles. You’ll eventually see that all the right things are happening to you and for you…even if it’s not quite what you had in mind.
The next time you don’t get the job offer you want, remember that we don’t get what we WANT; we get what we NEED. A better job is right around the corner. When you do a self inventory and determine you don’t have the house you want, the free time you want, the husband you want, or the child you want, feel a deep sense of gratitude for having only that which you truly NEED. Search out the evidence that proves you NEED all that you have as it currently is and you’re whole life will change. Make this an ongoing practice and you’ll find yourself welcoming unexpected circumstances and plans going awry. You’ll start looking forward to discovering what you NEED and gaining new awareness about what genuinely benefits you. On top of it all, you’ll feel so grateful that life is unfolding as it’s meant to be.
But you don’t have to take my word for it. Try it out and see for yourself. Or take it from the Rolling Stones as they sing, “You Can’t Always Get What you Want”. (You know you want to listen to it now, don’t you?)
Nicole Iacovoni is a psychotherapist, author, wealth building coach, and personal empowerment fanatic dedicated to helping you create a life of happiness & prosperity. Her work is centered around personal growth and holistic health and wealth building. Nicole takes an honest, straight-forward approach to helping clients identify where they currently are in their life’s journey. With expertise in how our DESIRES, EMOTIONS, THOUGHTS, and BELIEFS influence our success, Nicole helps clients create a concrete action plan for living the life of their dreams.