How To Stop Quitting On Your Desires
This is a story of how things went from “fine” to upside down, to great, and how I almost threw myself under the proverbial bus.
After my knee surgery in November, I put myself on a clothing-spending freeze. I didn’t need anything new, and I was going to be healing inside all winter anyway. (yoga pants forever, 24/7!) I had witnessed how I wasn’t paying attention to what I was spending. A winter “spending freeze” was a worthy experiment.
At the top of my list was a new purse. My old one was falling apart, fraying at the edges, stained, and didn’t even have a top zipper, so it just hung open. I often take the New York City subway, which is pretty safe, but if you can’t zip up your purse, you might be inviting trouble, or at least in danger of spilling the contents on the floor.
I decided I would spend the winter looking for a new purse, and then buy it for myself once my birthday came at the end of March.
On a trip to San Francisco I walked through the downtown shopping district on the way to a meeting, and found myself on a row of the biggest luxury brands in the world: Chanel. Prada. Christian Louboutin.
I had never been in these stores before – I had a whole story in my head about how:
- These styles weren’t for me (I’m more rock n’ roll hippie than lux)
- The salespeople would be snobby
- I wouldn’t be able to afford anything, but more than that, it’s a waste of money
HOLD IT, I thought.
I won’t even allow myself to go in and look? That’s interesting…
See, I inherited a mindset of lack, and a habit of low self-worth.
Mostly from my mom, who declared bankruptcy a couple of times, and had a kind of reverse-snobbery. She instilled in me the idea that “rich people” had their priorities in the wrong places. Much of my own internal work has been to heal the idea that I don’t deserve nice things that I want, or that the nice things I want aren’t “appropriate.”
Standing in front of these luxury stores, I decided to face these old, inherited beliefs head on. And just go inside.
The sales people were perfectly nice. In fact, they were too busy to say more than hello.
I looked around, noticing what I liked, just allowing myself to be in this luxury space.
And there it was.
Oh. My. GOSH, I thought. THAT’S a purse! The design, color, size, everything. I’ve never fallen in love with a purse (or really any material items that I can recall)…
Then I looked at the price tag.
It cost more than my first car in high school.
(Admittedly, my first car was 30 years old when I bought it in 1991 from my Uncle Paul, but still – it’s quite a thing to compare the cost of a purse with the cost of a car.)
I loved her. The bag is called The Eloise. Everything about her spoke to me.
But I honored my promise to myself and didn’t buy the purse.
I was waiting until after my birthday.
I left the store, and continued to look at purses for the next 2 months.
I looked online, in discount designer stores, on Ebay, Etsy, at my friend’s clothing swap.
Nothing came close to Eloise.
Then a series of upside down things happened: a major financial setback in our family life, a major win in my work life, and some big, raw opportunities to talk about money with my husband, my ex-husband, lawyers, mediators, my accountant, and my clients.
(I’ve noticed that things happening in my life often mirror what’s happening in my clients’ lives, and several clients were going through major desire/worthiness shifts)
Life is filled with possibilities, if you’re open to seeing the signs.
As my birthday came around, and the financial earthquakes settled in my personal life, I got ready to buy my reward – my Eloise.
And promptly freaked out.
The old Bitch Brain voice came out loud and clear:
“Who do you think you ARE? Are you insane? What a waste of money! How irresponsible are you? You should save that money! What if people find out you bought a purse that cost more than your first CAR? You’ll be a fraud and a phony. Your husband will hate you and hold it over your head, and you’ll always regret it. Donate that money! WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE???”
I grappled with my ego, my desires, the Voice, and the Universe.
The next morning, I spoke with my husband:
“Babe, are you sure you’re ok with me buying this purse? I want to be positive that you’re not going to feel like I’m not an equal partner in this relationship, or that I’m irresponsible.”
And Bob, in all his wonderful glory, replied:
“Sweetheart, I wanted you to buy the purse back in February when you found it. If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that we’re both happier when all your desires are fulfilled. Get the purse.”
And it struck me:
It was irresponsible of me NOT to buy the purse!
Here’s what I mean:
I gave myself some big goals.
I promised myself a reward.
I accomplished the goal.
Then I was going to back out of my promise???
How many times have you done that…back off your desires? Promise yourself something and then talk yourself out of it?
I teach women that their desires are important.
That all the things we want, big and small, are good.
That we shouldn’t be ashamed of our desires, whether it’s for chocolate cake, sex, financial security, loving relationships, creative outlets, or a luxury purse.
If I didn’t buy this purse, I was a hypocrite.
Have you ever been a hypocrite with your desires? Backing out and giving up?
I see this happen with us women all the time.
We tell ourselves we’re going to follow through on our desires:
- Our desire for wellbeing
- for clarity of purpose
- for loving relationships
- for a home that feels healing and filled with beauty
- for more physical pleasure or healing sexual connection
- more creative expression and dedication to our inner artist
- the purse….or the shoes… or whatever
And we stop short.
We chicken out.
We talk ourselves out of what we want in life…ALL. THE. TIME.
So I bought the purse.
I decided to ask other women I admire about this phenomenon. The question was: “What’s the BIGGEST desire you ever had that you almost didn’t allow yourself to have, but then have it to yourself? And you’re so glad you did?”
Lena West: Living in two different cities at different times of the year. It was something I wanted to do for a long time, so when it finally happened, I felt happy about it. So it increased my overall happiness. Additionally, I got to live in two climates and I got to be around a community of people who primarily spoke Spanish and I felt “at home.”
Angela Lauria I convinced myself I was a behind the scenes person. I wanted to be the wind beneath my bosses wings… as a stage manager, a marketing director, a campaign organizer… secretly I wanted to be the director or the CEO but I was too scared to fail to even let myself admit that dream. I finally admitted it to my first life coach in 2007 (after 6 months of coaching!). 10 years later I’m the CEO of a $10M business and was just name as a finalist for the entrepreneur of the year. The best part is I have created an amazing life for my family by helping people who are making the world a better place.
Jennifer Kem To say goodbye to a career that paid me well over $250k/year to live a life 100% centered around my values, the top one being autonomy. (Now she heads two companies that make millions of dollars a year…)
Gemma Went Being a mum, I was a commitment-phobe (single for all of my thirties) and almost gave up hope of having relationship and having a child. Then got pregnant at 42 while having a fling and pretty much every element of my life improved from that moment (including meeting my soulmate, who I married last year).
Julie Santiago I have a bajillion things to say about this, the way our fears will intentionally hide our dreams. My 2 biggest current ones: Being an author and being a mother. (Now she’s published her first book this week..and more to come)
What would have happened if they hadn’t pursued those ‘scary’ desires?
They would have lost so much… millions of dollars, loving relationships, dream projects, freedom, comfort, and more.
My heart hurts thinking about the millions of dollars that would have been lost if they hadn’t committed to their desires…even when it was impractical, scary, or outright crazy.
And I know – it’s hard to imagine what you are losing out on, when you haven’t even attempted to pursue it.
Here is my invitation to you:
You have desires inside you, right now, to do something big, to create something important, to realize a dream… and you’re talking yourself out of it.
Think right now what you could lose if you don’t go for it. Now.
I had to honor my desires to be the kind of woman who buys the purse…the kind of woman who leaves her toxic marriage…the kind of woman who commits to eating gluten-free and 90% sugar-free…starting my own company…dating again as a single mom…
If I had kept talking myself out of those desires, scary as they were, I wouldn’t have the life I am so fulfilled by now.
If you’re ready to make some big magic in your life, get moving forward, and do it in record time, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and type YES, Alex! to get a private invitation from me for my 1-on-1 coaching.
I’ll get right back to you, personally.
P.S. I have spots available for 4 new private clients, so reply now if you feel the tug of desire to work with a master-level coach on your desires.