Are you chasing your needs and desires, or are you creating your life? What’s the difference?
In this post, we’ll explore how chasing your goals is different from investing yourself toward creating the life of your dreams.
First, I invite you to recall moments when you wanted something so bad, you just lost yourself. Maybe…
- You fear that something you’re creating – a song, a painting, a podcast, a social media page, a YouTube channel, a creative business – may not be a success. When you forget the real purpose and meaning of your creative endeavor, you get caught in “doing” mode. Consumed with thoughts of outcome rather than the fullness of the creative process, you lose connection to some of your most powerful sources of inspiration and creative energy.
- You’d been dreaming of playing a certain role as an actor, but once you were in the audition room, you found yourself overcome by a sense of desperation. You lost contact with your talents and skills. You couldn’t really show them what you’re capable of because you were blinded by how badly you wanted and needed the part.
- As a writer, despite your past success, you still find yourself controlled and dominated by a director. You compromise your artistic vision because you feel you can’t say “no,” negotiate, or create boundaries. No longer grounded in your own skills, you can’t access your voice or the stories you care about.
- Your longing for an intimate relationship is so deep that you accept less than you deserve from your partner. Instead of asserting yourself, standing for your needs, or creating some healthy boundaries, you let the real you recede into the background. You forget about who you are, including your priorities, your friends, and what you want to do outside the relationship.
These are some examples of chasing your dreams or “unhealthy striving.” It is important to have desires, needs, and dreams, of course, but the goal is to reach from your authentic self, not from your unhealed emotional wounds and conflicts.
It can be helpful to understand why you have a tendency to chase after your dreams and goals. When you get at the root of this issue, you can begin to heal it.
You may find yourself chasing your dreams or goals because you:
- experience emotional disconnection from yourself, others, and the world
- have an unhealthy dependence on outside validation
- fear that you’ll never get what you need or what you want
- harbor self-doubt and feelings of “not enough”
- are unable to trust that you can access your own resources
- lost connection from your own agency
- are unable to tolerate the unknown or the uncertainty
- are unable to to embrace your genuine feelings
On the other hand, there is a kind of “healthy striving” in which you are able to create your life. This happens when you:
- are intimately connected with your real self
- know who you are and embrace who you are
- are re aware of your fears and doubts
- know your strengths and weaknesses
- understand your past and how it impacts your present
- can work to overcome emotional blocks, conflicts, or trauma
- can make conscious and intentional decisions
- know when you react from old emotional injuries and you seek healthier ways to respond
- are grounded in a sense of curiosity about your own potential and possibilities
These are two very different emotional spaces from which you can live and act. The first causes you to live and act from emotional injuries, the second is full of opportunities to live and act from your essence.
That second option clearly sounds like it’s the most satisfying and rewarding, but, the reality is that we all have some emotional injuries, trauma, or conflicts that keep us from staying grounded in the true self. We want to live a life that feels right and feels at home with who we are, our relationships, and our career, but the past often gets in the way, both through conscious and unconscious memory.
So, how can you move out of reactivity and towards creating your life?
Simply put, you have to do your emotional work. The answer really is that simple – and that challenging. Only you can decide that you’re worthy of living a fulfilling life and to take responsibility towards creating your life.
Most of us live with unhealed emotional trauma and conflicts. We can’t really stay in our essence at all times. We move in and out of alignment and need to work to retain the sense of emotional freedom that lets us live in the present moment.
When you do your emotional work, you can start to function from your essence and from a space of emotional freedom. Whenever you stay grounded in your true self, you heal the past and present and are free to create a future that feels right for you.
It’s hard to do your emotional work alone. It’s ok to ask for help.
Fortunately, nowadays, due to a greater degree of acknowledgment and openness, it’s more possible for all of us to do our emotional work. The internet is exploding with emotional health resources, including self-help books, workshops, programs, life coaches, psychotherapists, spiritual healers and more. While there is so much out there to help you, it can also be overwhelming to figure out what might work best for you.
My suggestion is to start with a psychotherapist who is trained in emotional trauma. These therapists have the training and tools to help you heal and overcome emotional conflicts, blocks, and trauma that interferes with you living from being grounded in yourself.
While therapists have different approaches, the most important is to find a psychotherapist with whom you can develop a close, intimate, safe, attuned relationship.
When you go to therapy, you go to feel that someone is there for you, embracing you for all that you are and all that you bring in the therapeutic space. It’s so important that you feel held and embraced in the presence of your therapist. You should feel they are invested in your well being and are motivated to help you. Ideally, you leave the session knowing they will continue to hold you in their mind to understand your journey and have insights about your healing. You can trust that their emotional presence in your life will invite the changes you’re seeking.
Therapy can be the emotional vehicle that takes you further along your healing journey than you could ever go on your own. An emotional environment attuned to you, moment by moment, that embraces you and responds to you in a way that you can heal and transform, can make all the difference as you learn how to create the life you’ve always wanted.
Everyone’s story and path to healing is different. I can help you explore what it means to create your life, and how very different it feels than that same old chase and hustle.
My California, Los Angeles based psychotherapy practice specializes in the unique needs of artists and creatives. To learn more about how psychotherapy can help heal emotional trauma or conflicts and access the full depth of your human affective experiences to enrich your life and expand your creativity, please contact me to set up a free initial consultation.
Contact me to set up a free 15-20 minute consultation to see if psychotherapy can help you further your career and your personal life.
I am Mihaela Ivan Holtz, Doctor in Clinical Psychology. I help creative people face and shift emotional trauma, depression, anxiety, performance anxiety, creative blocks, and addictions. You can read more about Therapy for Creatives and Performers here.